Michael Walsh, Liberal Studies

photo by Sandi Yanisko

Adults who return to college to earn their degrees often inspire others to return to campus, as was the case for Melissa and Michael Walsh of Gilbertsville.

Motivated by his wife’s success in the Nursing program at Montgomery County Community College, Michael decided he, too, wanted to further his education and pursue a new career.

“Even though I went to a technical college in my 20s, I am glad that I returned to get a degree in Liberal Studies,” Michael said. “I gained a new appreciation for my writing and public speaking abilities, enough so that I changed my life goals entirely. I first enrolled at MCCC with the goal of becoming a Mechanical Engineer, which would have been the next logical career step beyond my job as a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machinist. But after taking English, History and Public Speaking classes, I realized that I would be much happier working as an educator.”

Michael graduated in December 2011 with an associate’s degree in Liberal Studies and plans to transfer to a four-year institution to get his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education.

During his first year at the College, Michael worked third shift every night and attended classes during the day as a full-time student. Unfortunately, he was laid off from his job and then faced some financial struggles.

“I received a Pell Grant in 2011 and probably wouldn’t have been a full-time student without it,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t have been able to keep up with my Honors-level coursework.”

Michael was also a recipient of the Brendlinger Family Scholarship through the College’s Foundation, which helped him pay for college-related costs, such as books, transportation and childcare for his young children.

The College’s flexible class schedule and financial support provided a positive experience for the Walshes and enabled them to achieve their education goals.

“I would recommend MCCC to other adult students,” Michael said. “However, the quality of MCCC among my peers is not a secret. Many of my friends are MCCC alumni.”

~ by Diane VanDyke

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