by Meghan Stratton
After attending multiple SUNY institutions and deploying with the National Guard, Lacey Grummons has finally settled in at Binghamton University.
A senior majoring in biological sciences, Grummons plans to remain at Binghamton to pursue both a degree in nursing and a master's degree in business administration after her graduation from Harpur College.
In the future, Grummons plans to work in health administration.
"I really like the idea of helping people," she said, "but with more of a business aspect."
Grummons said she has always wanted to pursue business, but after taking a few science classes and really enjoying them, she decided to mix her two interests.
After graduating from high school early, Grummons had achieved what almost amounted to an associate's degree in business even before college. At 17, she joined the National Guard and enrolled at the University of Buffalo.
"I needed a way to go to school," she said of joining the National Guard, "and it was a way to experience a lot of different things like traveling and just do something that most people would never do. It just opens a lot of doors for you."
Since joining the National Guard, Grummons has received several awards, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
While she says being in the National Guard has certainly helped her in some ways, it has also complicated her life as a student.
Grummons had to take a semester off school while she was a student at the University of Buffalo for basic training. And after transferring to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, she was deployed to Guantanamo Bay for a year.
During her deployment, Grummons was involved in security missions outside the base and spent a lot of her time doing human resources work.
This work reinforced her desire to pursue an administrative career.
"It was something that I really enjoyed doing," she said, referring to the office work.
Returning from Guantanamo Bay, Grummons enrolled at Harpur College for the fall and took summer classes to get a head start.
Grummons said she was drawn to the University because of its reputation, its proximity to her hometown of McGraw, and the programs it offered her in both biology and business.
After transferring twice and deploying, Grummons thought she would be much farther behind when she started at Harpur College. However, with help from Harpur Academic Advising, she has been able to take advantage of the college's flexible degree plan and freedom to choose a variety of biology electives.
"It's been really easy transferring here," she said.
Jill Seymour, the associate director of Harpur Advising, has consistently worked with Grummons on her degree plan and calls her "an advisor's dream."
"Lacey takes responsibility for her education, and she is proactive in looking for opportunities that will strengthen her both academically as well as personally," she said.
Seymour says this, among other qualities, has allowed Grummons to successfully balance her various responsibilities.
"Her ability to maintain a strong GPA ... while at the same time maintaining her Guard commitment speaks to Lacey's hard work and drive, her ability to prioritize as well as her ability to balance many balls in the air at the same time."
Grummons says she has enjoyed her time at Harpur College, particularly classes that have allowed her to explore the Nature Preserve and one-on-one relationships with faculty that she says have been helpful, "especially for being a big college."
In addition to being a full-time student, Grummons also works at Lourdes Hospital as a patient-care assistant in the perinatal unit, where she said she is gaining valuable experience to apply toward her future career in health administration.
She hopes to further develop these skills by continuing to study at Binghamton University in the Baccalaureate Accelerated Track through the Decker School of Nursing.
All of this leaves Grummons with very little time for hobbies, but she said she loves to bake, run, and do Zumba when she gets the chance.
"It's definitely hard," she said of keeping up with schoolwork, her job, monthly drill weekends and other responsibilities associated with the National Guard.
However, Grummons has enjoyed her time in Binghamton and doesn't plan on leaving.
"I plan to live here," she says, "I really like the community."
Last Updated: 6/3/15