Pollianna Moshenskiy is not an ordinary teenager. At 18, she recently earned an associate degree from Cleveland State Community College a week prior to graduating from Cleveland High School (CHS). She will transfer to the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga this fall as a biochemistry major with a goal to earn a medical degree. Moshenskiy plans to minor in Spanish which will give her proficiency in four languages – English, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish.  

Moshenskiy was a student in the Tennessee Valley Early College (TVEC) at Cleveland State. TVEC is a partnership between Cleveland State and local school systems designed to allow students to pursue college credit at the same time they are earning a high school diploma. Students take a rigorous high school curriculum during their freshman and sophomore years and traditional college courses on Cleveland State’s campus during their junior and senior years.

“I chose the TVEC program because I wanted to get a head start,” said Moshenskiy. “It has always been a goal of mine to go to medical school. Since my parents went here, I knew it was a good school. I liked the professors; you could tell that they cared and really enjoyed teaching.”

Balancing college classes and high school extracurricular programs, Moshenskiy was team captain of the CHS girls’ soccer team, worked part-time as a lifeguard and taught children’s Sunday school classes at her church. She was on the President’s Honor Roll at Cleveland State and a Graduate of Distinction at CHS, earning straight A’s while in school. 

“It was difficult to balance everything at the beginning, but once I put away social media and really honed in on the reading, it got easier my second semester,” said Moshenskiy. “Some people would question me about going to medical school, but I want to succeed more when people doubt me.”

Cleveland State biology instructor, Cameron Brewster, said, “It was special to be a small part of Pollianna’s time here at Cleveland State as she engaged with the biology curriculum and discovered an interest in it. This is so rewarding as an instructor! Her natural ability and mature approach toward her studies will take her as far as she wants to go with her education and career.” 

Moshenskiy’s parents, Sergei and Irina, are also Cleveland State alumni. Sergei is an operating room (OR) travel nurse, and Irina is a gastroenterology nurse. Originally from Ukraine, the couple moved to Cleveland in December 1997. After a year learning English, they started nursing school at Cleveland State. Along with their daughter Pollianna, Sergei and Irina have two older sons who are also working on advanced degrees.

“Cleveland State changed our lives because it gave us stability, job opportunities, careers,” said Irina. “We lived in a little bitty apartment for people with the lowest income; now, 26 years later we own a house and have cars. We came to America with two bags, a couple of thousand dollars to buy a car and that’s it. No language. It was hard work. When you come to this country and see your hard work pay off, you want to do more.”

For more information about the TVEC program, email earlycollege@clevelandstatecc.edu or call (423) 473-2310.