Monday, January 14, 2013

The aha moment that led a Philadelphia native to go back to college

READMIT PROGRAM: Stephanie Ricchini-Egan came back to Peirce
after withdrawing because she was determined to earn her degree.
For some, going back to college means resuming a degree program they had to put on hold. Many of our students fall into this category, and are part of our readmit program. This program is dedicated to helping people continue their educational journey after they've taken a break from school for any reason.

We believe everyone should have a chance to earn their college degree, even if it takes six, eight, ten or more years! One story we'd like to highlight is Stephanie Ricchini-Egan, who took advantage of the Peirce readmit program.

Stephanie grew up in Southwest Philadelphia and went to West Catholic High School for Girls. She attended community college for a semester and then technical school to get certified in Office Administration. After she graduated, she got her first job at Jefferson Hospital as an Executive Secretary and stayed there for 18 years.

When Stephanie got her next position at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), she heard about Peirce College and our support services for adult learners. She'd always wanted to work in human resources, doing recruitment or employee relations, but needed a college degree to make that dream a reality. So Stephanie decided to enroll at Peirce while working at CHOP full-time.

She chose Peirce because the support it offered for working adults like herself. "I think the support system at Peirce is really good," said Stephanie. "All of my professors are available, and my adviser is very helpful. It's a good school for a working adult."

Then CHOP told her that it was introducing a new autism research center, and she had been chosen to help launch it. Stephanie was excited to begin working on the new project, and was at community events and fundraisers nearly every day.

Stephanie found that her time commitment to the autism research center made it challenging to keep up with her studies. She had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from Peirce after a year and a half, but her goal to complete her degree remained. Her coworkers at CHOP all had their college degrees, and she wanted to have one as well.

Then there was an unexpected turn of events. The autism center lost almost all of its funding, and many of her coworkers were laid off. Stephanie saw the job market getting even more competitive and recognized that it was a crucial time to go back to Peirce to finish her degree. She contacted Renee Morrison, an Enrollment Representative in our Readmit department, in July 2012 and stated that she was ready to come back. She received our Readmit Scholarship and resumed her studies at Peirce in August 2012.

Stephanie is currently working toward earning her associate degree in Business Administration. After that, she plans to get her bachelor's degree in Human Resources. She is still working at CHOP in the finance department, and takes her classes both on-campus and online. After earning her bachelor's degree, she hopes to continue at CHOP and work in employee relations.

Stephanie said that she loves how close Peirce is to her Center City office, and she often walks to campus after work for classes or to meet up with classmates. She has made many new friends, and has enjoyed her experience so much that she encouraged a CHOP coworker to enroll in classes at Peirce as well.

Stephanie said that the support system at Peirce is vital for helping working adults like her balance a degree program and busy lifestyle. Her professors are always available for questions or a little bit of extra help, and she feels she can really lean on the institution to help her when she needs it.

Stephanie's experience has taught her a lot about herself and her potential to achieve her life goals. "I used to always think I didn't have the time or I was just too tired to earn my degree while working full-time," said Stephanie. "But I'm just doing it now. My advice is to just do it. It's not as hard as it seems, and you'll be so happy you did."

Thanks Stephanie, for sharing your wonderful story with us. We wish you all the best in your studies!