UC Clermont

Sunnie Lehr

Sweet Dreams

Student hopes UC Clermont's bachelor's degree program is the recipe for business success.

Madison "Sunnie" Lehr wants to be her own cake boss. Although Lehr is busy as a student in UC Clermont College's Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies program, the aspiring entrepreneur bakes in her spare time — in hope that combining her lifelong passion for sweet treats and her new business know-how will propel a future business venture.

"Baking is something that brought me closer to my grandmother, and my love for it developed even more as I got to see how much the people around me enjoyed the things we made," Lehr says. "I aspire to own my own bakery so I can be someone who does what I love daily; seeing the joy it brings people will be an added bonus."

The White Oak High School graduate continued honing her baking skills as a vocational student in culinary arts at Southern Hills Career and Technical Center. While still in high school, she started taking college courses at Southern State Community College through College Credit Plus, an Ohio program that allows high school students to earn high school and college credit at the same time by taking college courses through community colleges or universities (UC Clermont also enrolls nearly 1,000 CCP students). After earning her high school diploma, she enrolled at Southern State to complete her associate degree and play on the school's basketball team.

But after graduating last May, Lehr realized that to make her dream of owning her own bakery a reality, she would need to further her education. "My mom saw an ad for UC Clermont's bachelor's degree (BTAS) program, and I called right away," Lehr says. "[Recruiter] Kathie Cooper laid out the benefits of the program and answered my questions. She made everything really approachable and the whole process easy."

UC Clermont's BTAS degree, the first bachelor's degree offered by the college, is geared toward those holding a technical associate degree — an AAB, AAS or ATS — and prepares graduates for upward career mobility. More than 300 graduates have completed the BTAS program since its inception in 2011. The flexible two-year program requires 20 classes (60 semester credits). Day, evening and online course are available, and students can enroll full or part time.

"My advice to other students thinking about the bachelor's program at UC Clermont is not to overthink it," Lehr says. "Just get in touch with someone at the college who can help with transferring your credits and get started."

And Lehr, who started her first semester of the BTAS program in the fall, sees an advanced degree as an important professional and personal achievement for her future.

"My bachelor's degree won't just help me on a personal level; it will also help future employers and investors see that I have the dedication and commitment to go the extra mile," says Lehr.