Paula Myers of New London, Iowa, has been named the Fall 2013 Cecile A. Christison Sterrett College Scholar for the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach.
In the last thirteen years Paula has had her entire life transformed by her growing involvement in higher education.Prior to that Paula had worked for Schaeffer Pen Company in Fort Madison, Iowa, for over 19 years. During that time she earned an Associate of Arts degree. However, in January 2001 her position was eliminated.
“I was no longer employed,” said Paula, “so I took that opportunity to go back to school and earn the degree I had always dreamed of: an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology/Programmer.”
Eligible for work-study aid, Paula was employed by Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa, in the Data Processing Center while she finished her degree. She completed an internship within the department, and after graduating was hired at first part time, then full time. She has now been working for over 11 years in the Student Services area of the college.
However, Paula was not content to stop at two associate degrees. Paula calls her experience at Schaeffer “a very surreal awakening. I love what I do and where I am at now in my career, but if things should change, I will be prepared to make a move with my Bachelor degree. Education is an ongoing process. I plan to continue to learn and keep myself marketable in case life’s journey puts another bump in the road.”
When Paula first began to take night classes, many years ago, a friend of hers handed her a note. On it the friend had written, “Education is something that no one can take away from you.”
Paula remarked, “It was not the first time those words have been expressed, and it will not be the last, but it was important to me at that moment, and I have never forgotten it.”
Paula is so dedicated to higher education that she also serves on the Southeastern Community College Alumni Board.
“I continue to support my community college in every way as I believe in what we are doing – educating and making a difference in people’s lives just like WIU made a difference in mine,” said Paula. “I believe that education makes a positive difference in people’s lives, and I am proud to be a part of that.”