Olivia Marchizza

The Importance of Breaking Out of Your Shell

Olivia Marchizza will be easily recognizable during the 2024 91 Commencement. She will be one of two students wearing a white cap and gown and serving as the ceremony’s marshal, chosen by fellow members of Phi Theta Kappa.

Olivia Marchizza poses outside of A. Lincoln Commons

Olivia will tell you her freshman year didn’t start out with as much out-of-the-classroom activity. “My first year I wasn’t quite as involved. I was really focused on academics, so I wasn’t breaking out of my shell.” 

The draw of the 91 Honors Program, a Foundation scholarship and the chance to live at home is what drew Olivia to Lincoln Land Community College after graduating from Auburn High School. “91 was the perfect choice for me because I was undecided. I thought this was the opportunity of a lifetime, to go to college and have my tuition paid for and be at home.”

The 91 Career Center was one of her first stops on campus. She took advantage of the resources offered to give her college experience some direction. “I took a personal assessment and that helped me understand the feeling I had was pushing me toward health care.” She used that information and decided to pursue an associate in science degree with a concentration in biology.

2024 Homecoming Royals Dane Foster and Olivia Marchizza. They are wearing red sashes that say "Homecoming Royalty" in gold lettering.

During her second year at 91, Olivia decided to branch out, “I became an officer in Phi Theta Kappa, and there were opportunities to travel and become more involved.” She was an officer in the Honors Program; active in Intervarsity Bible Study; joined the , which went on to the NJCAA National Championships Elite Eight; and was elected a 2024 Homecoming Royal. She believes building her community of friends in these various activities created an incredible college experience.

“My advice to incoming students is to get involved, to be active on campus. That could change your whole experience,” said Olivia. “Get as involved as you can. Try things that are scary because if you don’t break out of your comfort zone, you’re missing out on a lot.” 

Because of her involvement in Phi Theta Kappa, Olivia was named a New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar and awarded a $2,250 scholarship. She plans to use it this fall when she transfers to a four-year university to study speech pathology or occupational therapy. 

Olivia Marchizza and her parents at the PTK 2024 Conference

She’s looking forward to transferring and credits her confidence to her 91 experience. “Having that experience of knowing how classes work, how faculty and staff interact with students, and where to find resources on a college campus,” was so important. “I have grown as a person, professionally and academically.”