Having had experiences at two other colleges and dropping out of both, Corey Heiman enrolled at WCTC at the encouragement of a friend and a colleague. He said he never had his sights on getting a degree, and he wanted to get in and out of school as fast as possible.
“My boss really pushed me to get an education. After starting a little slow, I started going full time … even taking a few accelerated classes,” he said. During the course of his program, an instructor told him to consider earning a bachelor’s degree, and suggested schools in which WCTC has transfer agreements. Heiman chose Marquette University because of the educational challenge it would provide. “My motto has always been, ‘Go big or go home,’ so I chose Marquette,” Corey says.
Transfer agreements between WCTC and Marquette University’s College of Professional Studies help students ease the process of starting their education with an associate’s degree at WCTC and completing their degree at Marquette. “I thought the transfer was going to be quite difficult, but it was easier than I expected,” said Heiman, who recalls transferring about 55 credits into the MU program.
Corey’s educational experience has been crucial to his career success. While he was taking an online class this past summer, he met another student who recommended him for a collections coordinator position at Johnson Controls, and he was hired by the end of the summer! “Marquette University’s College of Professional Studies and networking helped with that for sure,” says Corey.
Perchell started at Marquette University right out of high school in 2007 as a traditional student. She transferred to Marquette’s College of Professional Studies due to the flexible class scheduling that is a better fit with her work and personal life. To help pay for her education, Perchell applied for and received federal Stafford loans, Pell grants and a study grant from the college.
Since Perchell always dreamed of a career in the legal field, she decided to pursue a major in Criminology and Law Studies. “After working for one semester at COA Youth and Development as a service learning assignment, I learned that I really like working with kids. I hope to continue on a path that will allow me to work with underprivileged youth,” says Perchell.
In 2008, Perchell started working at the FedEx Office and Print Center in as a customer service representative, and received her first promotion to production operator and a second promotion to lead consultant. In her current role, she is responsible for managing a team of six sales consultants as well as ensuring quality and cost-efficiency for both the customer and the center. “Learning how to work as a team is a skill I acquired from the College of Professional Studies that has helped me advance in my career,” Perchell remarks. “What I have learned from both Marquette University and FedEx Office will greatly benefit me on whatever career path I choose in the future.”
Kerry starting taking classes at UW-M in the late 80’s, but didn’t feel the program in electrical engineering was a good fit for him. Kerry focused instead on developing his technical computer skills on-the-job. Years later, while working at Harley-Davidson as a database administrator, he attended a college fair held at the company, where he became aware of Marquette’s College of Professional Studies and its adult degree program. Since Harley-Davidson is a big proponent of higher education, Kerry realized he needed a degree in order to advance his career and he decided to enroll in the undergraduate degree program in Leadership and Organizations. “This program is a good fit because it helps me develop my leadership skills, and I can leverage what I learn by using it on the job right away,” says Kerry.
Flexible course scheduling and good time management has allowed Kerry to balance school with work and family. “My wife has been very supportive,” says Kerry. She takes care of things at home with their two young sons while Kerry finds quiet time to study at a coffee shop in the early morning and late at night.
While Kerry is no longer at Harley-Davidson, he continued with the program at his new employer. He recently applied for a senior team lead position requiring both technical and leadership skills. In the course of five interviews for this position, Kerry emphasized the leadership skills obtained through his education at Marquette as well as his technical skills, and he got the job! “Working toward earning my degree was the foundation that helped me obtain this promotion and enhance my career,” Kerry remarked. “My Marquette education has helped me to be more open to other viewpoints, be a better listener, and think more deeply about issues.”
“I dropped out of college when I was 18 years old because I had no clue why I was there,” says Lorelei. Over the years she began to realize that a degree would help her move from a job to a career, but being a single parent with three children put her education goal on hold. She told her children that someday she would go back to school and finish what she started. Lorelei’s youngest son pointed out that her children are now adults and it’s a good time for her to go back to school to pursue her dream of earning a degree.
As Lorelei began to search for a program for adults returning to school, she learned that the College of Professional Studies combined Marquette University’s great reputation with a program designed for adult learners. “There was no question in my mind that this is where I wanted and needed to be,” she remarks. She is able to balance her time by applying the multi-tasking and prioritizing skills she mastered as a single parent to her student life. “I also have an absolutely amazing support unit,” she says. “In addition to my kids, I have seven wonderful siblings who are behind me every step of the way.”
Lorelei is paying for college through a combination of financial resources including financial aid, student loans, grants, and scholarships. She was awarded the 2012 Spirit of Ignatius scholarship by the college based on her academics and demonstrated leadership reflecting Marquette’s mission. While driving with her daughter Claire to the college’s honors convocation, Lorelei had no idea what she was going to say during her scholarship acceptance speech. Her daughter said, “Mom, you’ve spent so many years being someone’s sister, daughter, wife, and mother, but now you’ve become your own person. That’s what you should say during your speech.” Lorelei realized that her daughter was right. “Through my courses, teachers and friendships that I’ve made at the College of Professional Studies I have found my voice, which has been the best experience. My education has boosted my self-confidence level to a place that I never ever knew existed!”
For the past 15 years, Willie has directed his leadership skills toward the transformation of Milwaukee’s Amani Neighborhood (bordered by 35th and 15th streets on the west and east, and Capitol Drive and North Avenue on the north and south). He also serves on numerous boards, including the Dominican Center for Women and the Milwaukee Police Department District #5 Community Outreach Committee. In addition to helping out in Ministry and community-related events, Willie spends time with his wife and three daughters (17, 13 and 11 years old) who are all involved in extra curricular activities such as sports, dance and music.
Willie always dreamed of attending Marquette University, but as he got older and experienced life’s challenges, this dream was put on hold. After becoming involved with Dr. Bob Pavlik and the College of Professional Studies’ Community Transformation Project, he was inspired to enroll in the college’s adult undergraduate program. “I thought a degree in Leadership and Organizations would help me better maximize my gifts and talents in order to create change within my community,” says Willie.
To help him achieve his dream, Willie realized he needed some financial assistance and applied for scholarships. He was awarded the Leadership Exploration Scholarship through the College of Professional Studies, and now, he says, “I’m living my dream.”
Initially, Sylvia decided to show support for her sister by going with her to an information session hosted by the college at the Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services Center. When she learned about the adult degree program in Leadership and Organizations and the flexible scheduling, she was inspired to go back to school and earn her degree.
Sylvia is a first-generation college student. After she earned her associate’s degree, she got married, had three children, and had to put her dream to earn her bachelor’s degree on the back burner. Since her son, Nakia, Jr., was 10 years old and her twins, Mia and Myles, were 9 years old at the time she enrolled, Sylvia thought they were at an age where they were a little more self-sufficient and she would have time for school. “Now that we’re doing our homework together at the kitchen table, I actually have extra time with my children and can serve as a role model,” she says.
To help balance her time, Sylvia does a lot of pre-planning and multi-tasking. “I work with my student advisor to determine what is going to be expected in my classes and plan my class schedule at a pace that is comfortable for me,” she says.
With financial support from the Oneida Tribe, Sylvia is working toward earning her degree and now feels more qualified if she would need to change jobs and re-enter the workforce in another field. “I feel that having a degree from Marquette University will be credible in the business world,” she says. Looking to the future, Sylvia plans to use her knowledge and skills to work together with her husband and start a commercial appraisal business after they retire – a second career and dream.
Dion is a Property Management Specialist for the U.S. Marshals Service, and is responsible for the custody, management, and disposal of assets seized by federal and local law enforcement agencies. He is a Desert Storm Vet, having served as a U.S. Marine from 1987 – 2007. As a Marine, he initially served as a Tank Commander and held subsequent Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) of machine gunner, Supply/Logistics Chief, and Senior Drill Instructor. After retiring as a Gunnery Sergeant (E-7), Dion worked for several years in the commercial real estate field as a property manager of retail, manufacturing and commercial office buildings.
“I’ve always believed that education is important,” says Dion. “In addition, transitioning from one career to another in the middle of an economic downturn made obtaining a degree absolutely vital.” Dion chose Marquette’s program because of the university’s good reputation and commitment to community service, as well as the convenient class scheduling. His military service has provided the benefit of full tuition through the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
“Having a family and full-time job can make it challenging to go back to school, but I’ve found that being organized and proper planning helps me to stay on track,” says Dion. “My Marquette degree will help me be a more valuable asset to my organization, expand my options and be better equipped to make a difference in the world.”
Randee initially chose Marquette University’s College of Professional Studies and the Leadership and Organizations program because Harley-Davidson encourages employees to expand their education through the college’s leadership program. “After I started taking classes, I realized what a great fit the program is for my busy life,” says Randee. “I like all of the instructors and working with the advisory staff. For the first time ever, I really enjoy going to school!”
To help juggle the multiple responsibilities of attending school, working full-time, taking care of her family and home, Randee schedules her days and weekends to include time to study and conduct research for her assignments. “Sometimes I have to give up social activities, but I try to reward myself when I accomplish my goals,” she says.
While the program is allowing Randee to apply new skills and knowledge to her career, the main purpose for continuing her education is to expand her understanding of the world around her. “I find that the varied curriculum of the program has helped me gain new knowledge and skills that I can apply to my everyday life,” remarks Randee.
As a manager, Mario realized that having an education is a very important part of building a career. After learning about the college and the undergraduate degree in Leadership and Organizations at a career fair, he was motivated to go back to school and earn his degree.
“When I started the program, I began to see the return on my investment by the knowledge and skills I received through my classes that I could bring back to my workplace,” says Mario. “I have to admit that I was a little nervous about going back to school at first, but I now feel confident due to the great support I receive from my student advisor, faculty and classmates. Also, the smaller class size promotes a good learning environment because I get attention from each instructor and I can participate more in class discussions. You’re not just a number here.”
The eight-week-sessions and flexible class scheduling allow Mario to balance his time. “When I have business travel coming up I can plan eight weeks ahead and choose to take Saturday or online classes,” says Mario. “It also gives me time to continue to give back to the community by tutoring elementary children through a program at Manpower.”
“Growing and developing is important to me,” remarks Mario. “Overall, my focus is to continue to improve my leadership capabilities and enjoy the leadership component of my job. I believe my performance coupled with my education will allow me to gain more opportunities in my career.”
“I decided to go back to school to earn my degree because I wanted to finish something I had started,” says Mekisha. “I always set goals for myself, and this goal was long overdue.”
As a working professional and single mother of two toddler boys at the time, Mekisha appreciated the flexibility of the adult undergraduate degree program because she could fit the weeknight and Saturday classes into her busy schedule. “Going to school wasn’t hard for me because it was something I valued and enjoyed,” she says. “I especially enjoyed having conversations with other adult students about life, work and school.”
Mekisha believes in giving back through community service. As a member of the YMCA Black Achievers program, she was recognized as the 2011 Adult Achiever Award, which is the highest honor extended to an adult volunteer. In addition, she received the 2011 Champion Achiever of the Year Award for the highest number of volunteer hours during the program year. She currently volunteers with feeding programs throughout the city and serves as a board member of the Urban Campus YMCA of Greater Milwaukee. “I hope to help the students I mentor at the YMCA realize they can always obtain their goals even in the face of setbacks and challenges,” she remarks.
Mindy started college after high school, switched majors a couple of times, and then stopped when she didn’t really know what she wanted to do. After starting her job at Harley-Davidson, she decided to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program offered through her employer and go back to school to earn her degree.
“I chose the bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Organizations because I thought this would help me be a better employee and a better leader,” says Mindy. “It was also important for me to show my children that I did not give up and finish something I started.”
With the support of her husband who helped take care of their two children, Mindy was able to do her homework. She also studied over lunch with some of her co-workers who were in her classes. “When I made the decision to finish my degree I found that you find a way to make it fit in to your life,” she says.
“My education has helped me gain more confidence and helped open the door to a new job opportunity in Global Sales at Harley-Davidson. Earning my degree was an achievement that gives me a sense of pride because I graduated from a school I highly respect with an outstanding core foundation as well as great professors and administrative staff.”
While he was working in the banking industry over the past ten years, Byron enjoyed going out to schools and counseling people about banking and credit scores. He began to apply his financial knowledge and experience to starting his own business buying and managing rental properties in the Milwaukee community. In addition, Byron was elected to the board of directors of the East Side Alano Club, a non-profit corporation established for the primary purpose of providing social opportunities for recovering alcoholics and their families.
In 2008, Byron decided to combine his love of counseling and basketball, and started REBOUND (Recovery Through Athletics) to provide an outlet for men in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction in the Milwaukee area. A group of men meet every Tuesday night at a church gym to talk about issues, help each other out and play basketball. “People appreciate something a little different and something else to do when they are working on getting their lives together,” says Byron.
With a true passion for counseling adults, Byron began to work toward earning a degree so he can transition into a new career. “After I earned an associate’s degree from MATC in liberal arts, I gained confidence and caught the fire for education,” remarks Byron. Knowing that a Marquette degree holds weight, he searched the university website and learned about the adult degree program in Psychology.
“I like the evening and weekend classes with an accelerated format because it is easier to adjust my schedule and plan for the future,” says Byron. To fund his education, Byron has received loans and tuition reimbursement through a former employer as well as study grants awarded by Marquette. “My goal is to pursue a master’s degree and continue as a lifelong learner, applying my education to all aspects of my life.”