I never aspired to be a millionaire. I prefer open spaces over cramped places. Yet, as Coordinator of EOPS/CARE & CalWORKs, statistics are my thing. I like to gauge the probability for success by the non-traditional and re-entry students we motivate at COD.
It’s incredible, really, when you count the numbers: 2,836 student assists since 2005. Of that group, 981 students achieved Dean’s List and Honor Roll status; 421 received their A.A. degrees. Another 235 went on to four-year universities.
Knowing the faces and stories behind those numbers makes me feel so blessed. It’s very humbling and it motivates me, too. I want to give back to them what I’ve been given.
I was a single-parent who married my high school sweetheart, and at 25, moved back into my parents’ home when things didn’t work out. My son, Matt, was three when I began my educational journey. A pamphlet from Northern Essex Community College arrived in the mail, and Mom said, “Why don’t you go to college?” I had nothing to lose; so, I enrolled. In 1981, I obtained an A.S. degree in Deafness Communication from NECC and was one of 40 women on welfare to be awarded with a full scholarship from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to attend Smith College. I went from having nothing to getting a B.A. in Psychology from Smith; then, a Master’s of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College.
I moved to California in 1988, and worked for many years in the TRIO programs, like Upward Bound. I created a book in collaboration with Cal State Monterey Bay to empower single parents on CalWORKs to get college degrees. I came to COD after my husband, Dr. Doug MacIntire, became a COD faculty member in the Physics Department in 2002. I signed on as an adjunct counselor, and fell in love with the college.
All things conspire to inspire. And that held true for me: I went from being the first in my family to get a degree, to having a son who was first to start college out of high school. Today, he’s a teacher; a Dad. I’m really proud of him. And when I see a steady stream of students come to us with their hopes and dreams, I am rewarded when they are empowered to continue on, even when obstacles block their paths.
I think that’s the key to what education does. It transforms lives, not just yours. It transforms the lives of all those around you.