Julie Lind of Rochester started attending Centralia College five years ago. When proposing some changes at work, her supervisor at Washington State Employees Credit Union challenged her, and told her that she could make the changes she wanted, if she would just take an accounting class. She took that challenge, and as Lind puts it, it was the beginning of her love affair with education.
“I was hooked after that,” Lind says. And though it took her five years while still working forty to forty five hours a week, she finally earned her Associate in Arts degree from Centralia College in 2012. Commencement was very special to her; she celebrated with her nephew, who is also a 2012 graduate from Centralia College.
Lind graduated from Tumwater High School in 1990, and she had tried to attend college, but with two jobs, and being on her own at 17, it was just too much. Instead, Lind entered the work force, and at the age of 19 landed a temporary job with WSECU; twenty one years later, and after a lot of hard work, she is still with that same company. Lind has worked her way up to become the Assistant Vice President of Small Business and Consumer Lending. Though she has been successful in her career, she wants to continue advancing, and feels that the key to that advancement is through education. In fact, as she puts it, “I want my bosses’ job, and he knows it”.
That’s not the end to Lind’s journey at Centralia College; she is now enrolled in the two year program of Centralia College’s new Bachelor in Applied Science in Management. When asked why Centralia College? “It’s the quality of the instructors, and the quality of the classes. I looked at several other colleges. The new BASM program was a perfect fit for me with its hybrid classes, part online, and then classes a couple of nights a week.” Lind finds she is even more motivated than before, has a great pride in her educational achievements so far, and is a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for community colleges.
Lind is impressed with the curriculum in the new BASM program at Centralia College. Students in her marketing class are creating marketing plans for an existing company, eCreamery, an online custom ice cream company recently featured on the popular TV show Shark Tank. The plans students create will be presented to eCreamery for review, and possible implementation. “You don’t get that kind of real world application with the opportunity to present your work to an existing company for review in many educational settings”, she said.
Lind is grateful to have the support of her job, and her family while attending Centralia College. “They are very understanding at work when I need extra time for classes,” she says. WSECU also reimburses her for tuition for up to five credits a quarter, something she feels more businesses should do. “They need to make an investment in their employees.” Lind’s family and fiancé Kevin have understood the constraints on her time as well. When she has to occasionally miss a family gathering due to a class, or to homework, she just tells herself, “The long term benefits are worth the short term sacrifices.”