“I am most proud of being the first person in my family to earn a bachelor's degree and that my son was able to see what I have accomplished,” she said. “It only takes one generation to change the trajectory of the generations that come after, and I hope my son is encouraged by my accomplishments.”
He has noticed. When she crossed the stage, she heard a proud Ariston yell, “That’s my mommy!”
Plastics Professor Adam Kramschuster witnessed a student the past 3½ years who was determined to learn and succeed.
“Heather’s work background and work ethic made her a pleasure to have in class, and she was eager to learn and a very active participant in every aspect of class,” he said. “I suspect this was due to her working in the field (with co-ops) while going to school and understanding the need to learn as much as possible so she could directly apply it to her career.”
Meeting challenges head on
Heather faced four distinct challenges and conquered each one.
The first was deciding to go back to school. She had studied business management at UW-Eau Claire but decided it wasn’t what she wanted. While working two jobs to meet expenses, a friend one day challenged her to run a half-marathon, which she did and completed.
“I didn't have very much confidence in myself. That accomplishment gave me a huge boost in confidence, and I realized that I had a higher potential,” she said, adding that Aaron, her fiancé at the time, also encouraged her to return to school.
The second challenge was getting back into the classroom and taking a rigorous science- and math-based program.