I have lived on the North Shore of Lake Superior my entire life: first Duluth, then Lutsen, then up the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais, then up to the Canadian Border in Grand Portage. In middle school we moved to Silver Bay, my mother's hometown, where I graduated high school, met my husband, got married and became a mom ... not necessarily in that order.
I started my college education in 2002 as a high school student in PSEO (Minnesota's Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program). I had my first child at 19 and have worked in a lot of different fields, including daycare, bartending and night auditing. I didn't have a lot of advancement opportunities without a degree and when our third child was born when I was 23, I decided that being a stay-at-home parent was a better fit for our family. Fast forward five years, and two more kids (one via foster/adoption) and my baby was heading to preschool, leaving me in the earliest stages of the progression to an empty nest. I decided to use the six hours of kid-free time to finish the (online) degree I had started 12 years prior at Lake Superior College.
I completed my AA degree at LSC in December of 2015 with honors. It was during my time at LSC that I discovered that my passions and skills had a place in the workforce in Social Work. A teacher that I greatly respect and admire encouraged me to look into UW-Superior to pursue a BSW, so I did and here I am!
Being a Nontraditional Student
As a student, I'm not sure I could get much more nontraditional. Now in my 30s, five kids, and a commute of more than an hour make for a lot of chaos at times. I was assigned to the Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center (VNSC) for Academic Service Learning for a class. Through that experience I met a bunch of great people that helped me to feel a bit less like the odd (wo)man out. Upon learning that UW-Superior has a substantial representation of nontraditional students, I felt drawn to make other nontraditional students aware and welcome. Nontraditional and veteran students have unique challenges in our path to a higher education.
Balancing life and demands outside of the classroom often means a lot of sacrifice, and it's not always school that is worthy of high ranking when prioritizing. Communication is key both in and out of the classroom, this is is in especially true for nontraditional and veteran students whose time is often in high demand. The ability to effectively communicate my needs to teachers, classmates, family, work, and other commitments is essential to avoid misunderstanding or missed deadlines. In my experience, the teachers at UW-Superior have gone above and beyond to help me succeed, so long as I hold up my end of the deal by communicating and following through. Of course, without the support of my husband, our five children, my friends and family, I wouldn't be able to pursue a higher education. A good support system is crucial for all students.
The VNSC and Me:
The VNSC has done a great job reaching out to veterans and nontraditional students to help them acclimate to college life and manage stressors, both in and outside of the classroom. As a proud child and grandchild of a veteran, I appreciate the sacrifice made by those who serve and their families and consider it a privilege to work with and learn from past and present service members. Working in the VNSC allows me to connect with people from all walks of life, and has provided opportunities for me to become more engaged in campus life, informing me of resources and opportunities that I may have otherwise been unaware of.
Campus Activities and Clubs:
- Interim President of SWSA, Social Work Student Association
- National Society of Leadership and Success, Member and Executive Board Member - Membership Outreach Chair