When Mikayla Phetteplace decided to restart her college career in 2018, she attended an orientation session for the TRIO program. With a six-month-old baby girl, Mikayla’s schedule wasn’t flexible enough for on-campus classes and she was going to need some help getting back into the swing of college classes. SC4’s TRIO Student Support Services program looked like a great choice.
“After [the TRIO] orientation, I had an advising appointment,” Mikayla explains. “The advisor highly recommended TRIO. I was amazed at the opportunities and benefits of being in the program, so I didn’t hesitate to fill out the application.”
Mikayla has been in the TRIO program for five semesters, and she’s sure she wouldn’t have had the success she’s had at SC4 without it. “Shawne (Jowett, then-TRIO advisor and current Interim Director of the program) kept me on track and made sure that the classes I was taking were online and needed for me to graduate. The early enrollment opportunity and the tutoring were the services I benefited from the most.”
With a full-time job and family responsibilities, Mikayla’s biggest challenge is time, and the help provided by her instructors and the TRIO team has been essential. “There are never enough hours in the day,” she says. “I have found that the trick to having the time is making it. It has seemed impossible sometimes, but things always get accomplished by the deadline. I try to remind myself to breathe and always ask for help when I need it.”
While it was important that she was able to complete her associate degree in computer information systems completely online, being able to travel 30 minutes to campus if she needed additional help was also important to Mikayla’s success. “SC4 is local, so unlike some online schools where literally everything is done online, if I need to come to campus I can.”
Mikayla has had support from many SC4 faculty and staff, but she is particularly thankful for the support of three people. “I’m most grateful for Professor Colleen Forsgren. She has been the most supportive, informational, and just all-around the best professor I’ve had at SC4. I’ve learned so much under her instruction,” Mikayla says. “I’m also grateful to Amy (Hengehold, TRIO Support Staff Member) and Shawne. They’re both so wonderful.”
Because of her overall success at SC4 and the impact that the college’s TRIO SSS program has had on her, Mikayla is the TRIO Student of the Month for September 2020.
Mikayla is planning to graduate in December with her associate degree, and eventually hopes to transfer to a university to complete her bachelor’s degree. She currently works as an administrative assistant and she and her husband hoping to buy a home in the area to give their daughter a place to grow up in and enjoy.
“TRIO has been one of the brightest spots of my college career,” Mikayla says. “There is nothing not to like about TRIO. They are helpful, kind, supportive, and always there if anyone has questions or concerns.”