Tompkins Cortland Community College

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Blaze Sanders

Big dreamsBlaze Sanders

Tompkins Cortland Alum Blaze Sanders dreams of pursuing his doctorate degree and some day working for NASA. Those aren't small dreams. You need a little help with those dreams, even if it's only the opening of a few doors.

That's where Tompkins Cortland came in.

Blaze grew up in Cortland with six younger siblings, and being the oldest he knew he was setting the example for his family. He also knew coming from a lower-income family he would face some financial challenges in pursuit of his dreams.

Blaze enrolled in the Engineering Science program with his a goal of transferring to a four-year school in mind. He says he chose Tompkins Cortland because he was impressed by the academic quality. And once he was here, Blaze said, "he found a nurturing educational environment with professors willing to mentor him along the way to his dreams."

He also found financial support on behalf of the College Foundation. Blaze applied for and received two scholarships, funded through the 2007-08 Annual Campaign. He received the BorgWarner Morse TEC and the Intertek Testing Scholarships. Blaze says he is forever grateful for the assistance, and that funding was crucial as it would have been "really hard" for him to go to school without the help.

He is appreciative for the time he spent at Tompkins Cortland and the companies who support the scholarships he received. "I loved the atmosphere at the College. I enjoyed being at a small school, and having the benefit of the one-on-one relationship with professors."

Blaze now looks forward to going on to John Hopkins University and continuing to pursue his dreams. He will always remember that Tompkins Cortland gave him his start, especially all of the support and assistance he received from the College.