Twenty years ago, Kimball Township resident Michele Erdman, was thrown a curveball with a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy.
“My future was unknown, and all the plans our family had made went out the door,” said Erdman, a proud mother of four. “However, I did not let that stop me.”
On the contrary, Erdman kept busy and active camping with her family, volunteering at local schools and in living history French and Indian War encampments around the state of Michigan, traveling, antiquing with her husband, and cheering on her children in sports. She also set her sights on earning a college degree.
Erdman became a first-time college student in 2009. A year later, however, she needed to pause her schooling to focus on her family and health. “I knew that it was the right thing to do, but I also knew that it would not be the end of my goal of finishing college,” she said.
She started back at SC4 in fall 2021, this time more focused on a degree in business management after serving as a Kimball Township election inspector for more than 10 years.
“Volunteering within the local government sector has opened my eyes to how important our city and township governments are in our day-to-day lives,” said Erdman, who continues to serve as election inspector. “I am still unsure how I will be using my degree, but I know that between my education and experience, I am prepared to work in government or a non-profit to help better serve the people around me. I have a passion for people with disabilities. I am thankful for my Muscular Dystrophy as it has prepared me for life in a way that I probably wouldn’t have realized without this disease.”
Erdman is scheduled to graduate this year and credits SC4’s TRIO Program and the entire SC4 community for helping her cross the finish line.
“TRIO is a wonderful program that has given me some amazing opportunities to learn more about myself as well as to meet and interact with some amazing individuals,” she said. “It has helped me to better navigate college with personalized help as well as understanding how to navigate campus with physical disabilities. I am so encouraged by the students I meet and have gotten to know in the program.”
She added, “It has been an absolute pleasure meeting and interacting with the instructors, staff and students here at SC4. We are a family and community that truly care for one another. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to be able to go to college. As an older student, I have never been made to feel as though I don’t belong. I am excited to begin my next chapter in life and look forward to where my degree will take me. I am very proud to say I have endured and overcome!”