Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2014

CHUCK HARRIS Age: 46 • Major: Computer Systems Support Graduated: May 2014

AMY BUECHEL Age: 46 • Major: Nursing (ASN to BSN Concurrent Enrollment) Expected Graduation Date: May 2015 Amy Buechel already has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and has worked as a biology instructor for 15 years. But when her husband Dan was hospitalized with heart arrhythmia, she knew she could no longer ignore the call she had always felt to pursue a healthcare career. “Because of my background, I know the human body and I know how things work, but I couldn’t help,” she says. “I didn’t like that feeling of helplessness.” She thought it over while Dan lay asleep in his hospital bed. The desire was so hard to ignore that she told him as soon as his eyes opened. “I just kind of sprung it on him,” she said with a laugh. “I said, ‘I want to go back to school.’ And he said, ‘I just woke up from a nap!’” With dreams of becoming a cardiac surgical nurse, she turned to Mercyhurst North East. She had heard great things about the campus’s welcoming atmosphere for returning adult students. “Our professors are so supportive,” Buechel said. “They know a lot of us have lives outside of school – children, full-time jobs. They’re very positive, like our own little cheering section.” Buechel – a self-described “lifelong learner” – said being an adult student helps her set a good example for her children, ages 10 and 12. When they grumble about schoolwork, she tells them that Mom has to do homework, pay attention and take tests, too. She’s on track to graduate within a year, and she hasn’t looked back. “I think at this age, going back to school, you have a lot more life experience to draw from,” she says. “If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, then why wait?”

Having your job eliminated isn’t something anyone asks for – but it happens. And when it does, it takes some soul-searching to fgure out what your next step should be. Chuck Harris was laid of after working 25 years as a quality assurance group leader at The Electric Materials Company in North East, Pa. Since the job cuts were a result of foreign competition, he was eligible for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to cover the cost of his tuition. At frst, Harris said he was hesitant to take advantage of the TAA funds – he didn’t want to keep other folks in worse circumstances from receiving the benefts. “I was unsure of what to do – I don’t want to take anything from anybody,” Harris said. “Then my wife told me, ‘Very few people get a second chance in life. This is your second chance’.” Harris decided to take advantage of the fresh start in the computer systems support associate degree program at Mercyhurst North East. While other programs he was looking at focused exclusively on Web design, he knew he wanted something more thorough. The MNE program also includes programming and networking courses, as well as practice repairing and building computers. Harris even took a class on how to develop, program and market his own mobile apps for Android. “You get a well-rounded education, and I think a well-rounded education includes liberal arts,” he said. “With this degree, you can get a job just about anywhere as a jack of all trades.” Harris has his sights set on a help desk career that will present him with new challenges to tackle each day. Harris said he knows the uncertainty that comes with losing your job – but he’d encourage other people in his situation to take the plunge to get a new degree. “Education is only going to open more prospects for you,” he said.


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online