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Dual Enrollment Student Succeeds at MassBay

Friday, February 17, 2023


Liz Cooper


MassBay Community College dual enrollment student, Esther Yee, in a chemistry lab on the Wellesley Hills campus, Wellesley Hills, MA, December 2022 MassBay Community College dual enrollment student, Esther Yee, in a chemistry lab on the Wellesley Hills campus, Wellesley Hills, MA, December 2022 (Photo/MassBay Community College).

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (February 17, 2023)Esther Yee of Dedham, MA enrolled at MassBay as a dual enrollment student when she was just 14 years old. “My mom attended MassBay for a year before transferring to a four-year university, so it’s almost a tradition. As a home-schooled student, I was looking for an academic challenge in a hands-on, scientific lab setting,” said Esther. “MassBay has been a perfect fit for me. My classes are challenging, and it is such a welcoming place for students to learn and grow. My experience has been better than I ever could have imagined. I met so many other people who love science as much as I do. I have been able to learn so much by conducting real experiments and participating in my professors’ interactive lectures and classes, all of which will help me earn my bachelor’s degree,” she added.

“One of my proudest achievements at MassBay was writing a paper, which was published in a scientific journal. With the help of my mentor and MassBay biology professor Judy Elliston, I was published in the  Journal of Emerging Investigators, which is a science journal that publishes research by middle and high school scientists. Professor Elliston encouraged me to submit my paper on a population of isopods I had discovered at the beach, took home, and studied for months. The species of isopods I found at Long Beach in Plymouth, MA, are typically only found in the Baltic Sea, so I wanted to learn why and how they were in Plymouth. I brought them home in an aquarium tank with some seaweed, sand, shells, and salt water to replicate the natural environment in which I found them. I studied them to understand the effects of climate change on different ecosystems. My at-home research project really solidified my interest in a future career in marine biology,” Esther said. 

“Esther stood out from the very beginning of our biology class at MassBay,” said Professor Elliston. “Her personality and passion for science made her a joy to work with, inside and out of class. She deserves all the credit for developing her project on isopods and publishing her paper in The Journal of Emerging Investigators. It was my honor to work with her, and I look forward to following what I know will be her distinguished career!”

“I don’t think I would have had the same opportunities somewhere else,” said Esther. “I like a challenge, and the dual enrollment courses provided that for me. At first, I was a little overwhelmed, especially in the lab with unfamiliar equipment, but I quickly became accustomed to it. As a homeschooled student, my social circle is pretty small, but I met a lot of new friends through our in-class lab work. I appreciate how they treated me as a peer. After seeing my excitement and success at MassBay, my sister also registered for dual enrollment classes. It’s great to see her projects and hear how much she’s enjoying the experience, too.”

Esther has earned a spot on the MassBay dean’s list every semester and holds a 4.0 GPA. She has been a member of the Life Science Club, a recipient of a dual enrollment scholarship, and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. In her spare time, she plays the electric guitar and piano, is a white belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and volunteers with  COASTSWEEP, picking up trash on local beaches and recording what she finds for data analysts. Esther’s future goals include graduating from high school and MassBay this spring, then transferring to a four-year university in the fall to study marine biology.

“Attending MassBay has been such an incredible opportunity for me. I consider myself very fortunate that I could have this head start with college. As a homeschooler, my MassBay classes provided me with advanced, hands-on learning that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.”

MassBay offers a variety of ways for high school students (grades 9-12) to engage in college coursework. More than 100 students take advantage of these opportunities every year. Students who wish to use college courses to satisfy high school graduation requirements may do so with the permission of their high school (or home school plan) through the Dual Enrollment program. Applications for dual enrollment courses during the summer term are due May 11, 2023, with classes beginning May 23. Applications for dual enrollment courses during the fall term are due August 23, 2023, with classes beginning September 5.


MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations, and Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. We value the intrinsic worth of all individuals, collectively in pursuit of inclusiveness and prioritize our work towards achieving equity within our community and beyond.


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Students + Alumni