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Nikki Campbell "My college education led to a career I love!"

I had a rocky start in college back in 1999. I knew I wanted to do something in the health care field so I started out as a biology major, but it wasn't the right fit for me. Neither of my parents completed their bachelor's degree and they worked hard to provide me and my sister with a good life, however, from a young age they also told me that I would "go to college". My sister is cognitively disabled so in many ways, I felt I was going to college for both of us and I knew I needed to stick with it. I eventually found the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) major at Winona State, as well as a faculty mentor in that program, and from that point on there was not stopping me.

"My education led to amazing experiences."

Once I earned my degree I was offered a position with the United States women's wheelchair basketball team. I traveled to Amsterdam with the team and helped them prepare for the Paralympics in Beijing. I was so inspired by my career that I decided to go back to school to complete my master's in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. I am now working as a health and wellness coach and am starting a new journey as the lead of Adaptive Fitness Training and Programming services for Exercisabilities, a new and comprehensive wellness clinic for those with neurological impairments.

"My education at WSU has helped my dreams come true."

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“My education was not traditional”

Kristi Ziegler, Campus Service Coordinator at WSU in Rochester

I started college at Rochester Community College in 1982 and transferred to WSU in 1984. The transfer experience was difficult for me so I left WSU after attending two quarters. My parents had always supported my education but they were also excited to have me back home after leaving WSU. Fast forward a few years to a job opportunity at WSU in Rochester. I started working at WSU in Rochester and realized that getting my college degree was important and the timing was finally right. I started taking classes and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies in 2006. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in Education Leadership and will graduate in May 2013.

“A bachelor’s degree gave me the confidence and insight to become a better person.”

Kristi Ziegler Photo

“I developed a confidence through my college experience.”

Jeff Petersen, Robotics & Welding Engineering Manager at Crenlo in Rochester
I had completed 2 years at a university and then found a job with a robotics company in Colorado. After a time, I knew that unless I finished my 4-year degree I wouldn’t be advancing as much or have as many career options as some of my colleagues. My parents were very supportive, both emotionally and financially, and encouraged me to finish my degree. I wish there was such a thing as an Orientation Class when I was in college – it would have helped me understand all the services available to me. Whenever I talk to or run across high school friends who did not complete their 4-year degree, they seem stuck, as though their work lives have been stagnant and not as rewarding. My college career opened up doors for me that I most likely wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“Earning a college degree helps give you the confidence to do things you otherwise would never consider-like sitting on community boards, volunteering for various activities and being a participant for panel discussions.”

“I worked at Mayo Clinic during the summers while in college and every once-and-awhile I run into the people I worked with while I was there, 20 years ago, and many of them are in the same positions, doing the same kind of work. A college degree provides the opportunity for career growth and promotion that would be difficult to achieve another way.”

Charleen Huber, Finance Program Manager at IBM