Written by Kevin Horne, student intern in Outreach News and Communications
Alicia McCormick always wanted a Penn State degree, but with two young children, a husband and a part-time job in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, that dream seemed unrealistic.
But with the help of Penn State World Campus and a scholarship from the STEM Career Advancement Project of Central Pennsylvania, McCormick is on her way to earning a bachelor’s degree in labor studies and employment relations.
“World Campus gave me the scheduling flexibility of online learning,” McCormick said. “With a family to care for, I need to be focused on their needs. Online learning gives me the flexibility to do my course work when it is convenient.”
McCormick recently received a $20,000 scholarship from the STEM Career Advancement Project of Central Pennsylvania. STEM CAP provides scholarships and assistance to underemployed or unemployed adults with previous college experience who want to get back into the workforce.
“As an adult learner returning to the classroom after many years, the uncertainty of everything that comes with it can feel overwhelming. Studying the course material, navigating the technology, managing family and work, scheduling the correct courses; then you get to tackle financial aid,” McCormick said. “The STEM scholarship means eliminating some of the financial burden and financial stresses that have been placed on my family by my decision to return to school. It has helped me shift my focus from the financial worry my next tuition bill has caused back to my studies. I am incredibly thankful for this scholarship.”
McCormick hopes to use her Penn State degree to pursue a career in human resource management, specializing in employee training and development, while working toward a master’s degree.
“The overwhelming sense of relief and comfort in the opportunity of attending Penn State could not be ignored,” McCormick said. “Being a part of the Penn State community, no matter what campus, made me feel as though I was definitely making the right decision for my life.”
Applications for the STEM CAP scholarship are still being accepted.