With her two-year associate’s degree in hand and a desire to become a nurse to help others, Hannah Subrahmanyam is looking forward to fulfilling her goal at the University of Central Florida.

That’s thanks in part to the DirectConnect to UCF program that eases the path to the university for students who graduate from a partner college.

Subrahmanyam of Altamonte Springs, the fifth of 15 children in her family, earned her Associate of Arts degree at Seminole State College in Sanford this spring, and Monday jumped right into classes at UCF’s College of Nursing as a junior.

She said she always planned to attend college, but knows that such a large family can stretch financial resources. So she attended Seminole State close to home for two years, and then used her 4.0 average and a scholarship through DirectConnect to UCF to apply to the nursing program. One brother has graduated from UCF, and three of her siblings also are attending this semester.

“I always knew I would, somehow, attend college. But one hesitation about attending UCF is that I would be unable to attend without taking out loans,” she said. Working through the DirectConnect to UCF program, however, “did relieve some financial burden as there is a scholarship for using the program.”

She said the program also allowed her to enroll in the College of Nursing a couple semesters sooner than normal. The nursing program requires applicants to already be UCF students, but when she applied she was still a Seminole State student.

“It was through the patience and persistence of my DirectConnect advisor Georgia Kent that I was able to be accepted into UCF in time to apply for the nursing program,” Subrahmanyam said. “She contacted people to appeal my case. Had I not been aware of the DirectConnect program resources, I would be attending UCF in the spring rather than this fall.”

The DirectConnect to UCF program guarantees admission to UCF with an associate’s degree from one of the university’s partner colleges: Daytona State College, Eastern Florida State College, Lake-Sumter State College, Valencia College and Seminole State College. The program, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November, offers a shorter time to degree completion through academic advising and career planning.

Subrahmanyam said she wants to become a nurse because she had some medical concerns when she was younger and “I want to give back in the way that I have been cared for.”

In a scholarship essay she wrote: “Nurses are real-life heroes. In caring for the desperate and downtrodden, they bring much-needed joy, hope and love. For five years I have desired to become a nurse…Nurses had an immeasurable effect on my life. This inspires me to positively impact those under my care.”

While on her path, she has been a dedicated volunteer with Give Kids the World, Runway to Hope and Florida Hospital.

She also enjoys hiking and is learning to play guitar, but said perhaps her favorite extracurricular activity is baking and decorating cakes, which is what she is learning on her job at Publix.

But as she took a break between classes Monday outside the College of Nursing building in Central Florida Research Park, she said: “DirectConnect was essential to me.”

“The biggest advantage for me was the DirectConnect advisors. They allow one to have peace about transferring over.”