Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Featured Learner Series: Kathleine Gavin Overcomes Her Fears and Inspires Her Children

22 years ago, Kathleine Gavin had just graduated high school and was thinking about going to college. Kathleine had her mind set on continuing her education at the Community College of Philadelphia, but life had other plans for her.

“I became pregnant with my first child and decided to hold off on school,” she says. “Working and raising my children kept me busy, and I kept putting it off. Now, I’m a supervisor, and I’m always telling my employees how important it is that they earn their bachelor’s degree. My oldest is a sophomore in high school and I’m constantly talking to him about college.”

Kathleine decided it was time to follow her own advice. Despite having spent more than two decades away from school and being busy raising three children, she enrolled as an adult learner in Peirce College’s Healthcare Administration degree program this summer. Raising kids, working as a Patient Access Supervisor at Nemours DuPont Pediatrics and going to school seemed “so scary” to Kathleine, but -- with a little help from Peirce -- she’s making it work.

“The customer service at Peirce is so great,” she explains, “From enrollment to financial aid; everyone was so happy and accommodating and worked around my schedule. I work during the day, but I was able to schedule my appointments in the evening.  It made the whole process of enrolling back in school easier.”

Kathleine first heard about Peirce two years ago, when one of her employees mentioned Peirce’s Mayor’s Scholarship for Philadelphia residents and municipal employees.  The scholarship offers full tuition and fees for up to ten classes per academic year.  “It sounded like a great opportunity,” says Kathleine.  As she became more serious about going back to school, Kathleine started researching Philadelphia institutions that offered bachelor’s degrees in Healthcare Administration.  Peirce College kept popping up.  “I decided that now was my time.  I had to at least try.”

To start to realize her goal, Kathleine first had to figure out how to pay for college.  Initially “terrified” at the prospect of paying for school, she decided to apply for the Mayor’s Scholarship.  She submitted her application and essay along with the required letters of recommendation and held her breath. It wasn’t long before good news came.

“When I found out I won this scholarship, I was with my kids, and I was screaming and crying. I’m so glad that they saw that real reaction, and saw me accomplish one of my dreams.”

Now, in addition to managing her Peirce course load and preparing herself for future growth opportunities at work, Kathleine has a new goal.  “I want to beat my oldest son to college graduation,” she says. “If I can do that, I’ll be the first in our family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.”

As she continues her journey at Peirce, Kathleine’s not as scared as she used to be.  “At Peirce,” she says, “there’s no reason to fail.”