Aspiring bakery owner and Whiteoak High School graduate Madison “Sunnie” Lehr is studying to earn her bachelor’s degree at UC Clermont College. (Submitted photo)
Aspiring bakery owner and Whiteoak High School graduate Madison “Sunnie” Lehr is studying to earn her bachelor’s degree at UC Clermont College. (Submitted photo)
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 — with 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 said. “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 Whiteoak 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 courses 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 said. “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,” Lehr said.
 
Learn more about UC Clermont’s BTAS program at http://www.ucclermont.edu/btas.html.
 
UC Clermont College is located in the center of Clermont County on 91 beautiful wooded acres in Batavia Township. The college is an accredited, open-access institution offering more than 50 programs and degrees. UC East, a Clermont County expansion in the former Ford plant in Batavia Township, opened in the fall of 2010. It is home to UC Clermont's Allied Health programs. The college is part of the nationally recognized University of Cincinnati. For more information, call 513-732-5200 or visit www.ucclermont.edu.