Grecia Perez hasn’t wasted much time since moving from Chile to Maryland with her family in January 2021. The Venezuelan native promptly enrolled in Reservoir High School and began taking classes at Howard Community College (HCC) in August 2021. Now, she has landed a full scholarship to Emory University, which she plans to attend in the fall.
“My high school guidance counselor said I should try dual enrollment and recommended HCC,” Perez says. “I did some research and applied, and that’s how I ended up here.”
Perez was pondering dual enrollment or Reservoir’s Advanced Placement classes when HCC’s business law course caught her attention and led to her final decision.
“It took something I already liked – law – and linked it to something I didn’t know a lot about – business. I didn’t know the connection existed. I didn’t know you could study business through law, or law through business. I took the course to explore those things and see if I liked them, and I did.”
The pace has been dizzying through her first year in the United States, capped by notice of the QuestBridge scholarship in December 2021. Having migrated to several places previously in her life, Perez is accustomed to change. A big one was speaking English in all of her classes (though she’s always known English). “It was almost like being in the movies and TV shows I watched in Chile,” she says. “I made that comparison in my head.”
As for choosing dual enrollment at HCC, she says there’s no comparison.
“It’s not just the college credit, because you can get that from high school,” she says. “It’s the practical experience of being in college and having college-level professors and work. It prepares you so you know what to expect when you attend a community college or four-year university.”
Her other HCC courses include college composition, statistics, French, and economics. But her time in the business law class has convinced her to pursue a double major in international studies and business administration at Emory. “Then, hopefully, I’ll go to law school,” she says, crediting much of her success to Professor Linda Mercurio, chair of HCC’s business program.
“She’s been awesome,” Perez says. “She has always congratulated me on my work since early in the semester. Then she wrote a letter of recommendation when I applied to the National Honor Society at my high school.”
Perez would’ve graduated from high school in December 2021 had she stayed in Chile. But thanks to HCC and the business law course, she’s moving along at full speed.