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From GED to Master's Degree

By Myra Saturen
May 12, 2011

Even as a child, Stacey Tisdale dreamed of a better life.  Growing up in a rough neighborhood of NorthStacey Tisdale Philadelphia, she saw little in her surroundings to encourage her.  After her mother died when Tisdale was ten, Stacey drifted, dropping out of school in the ninth grade. 

But her determination never truly left her, and nine years ago she decided to do something to fulfill her aspirations.  "I was tired of merely existing," she says.  "I wanted to do better, be better."  She took the first steps, changing her environment by moving to Tannersville.  She then completed a GED preparation program through Northampton Community College (NCC), attained her GED and enrolled as a freshman at NCC.    

Out of the classroom for many years, and with less than one year of high school, Tisdale confronted many challenges.  She had to learn to read and write effectively.  Algebra seemed daunting.  Not surprisingly, she faced numerous gaps in her education.

Learning, however, proved to encompass more than equations and sentence structure.  "I found love, support and motivation at NCC," Tisdale says.  NCC faculty and staff members became like a family to her.  Many had a profound impact on her, including Kathy Weichel, student advisor; Ken Graves, associate professor of counseling; Matt Connell, dean at the Monroe Campus; Jennifer Bell, student services administrator; and Rosalee Boyer, student services administrator.   With the encouragement of these mentors, Tisdale grew to believe in herself ever more. 

Among numerous positive experiences, Tisdale recalls participating in the NCC Leadership Program.  Retreats with other leadership students taught her about herself and other people.  Meetings with community business leaders expanded her knowledge, and helping implement a fundraiser for art supplies for children at B.F. Morey Elementary School gave her satisfaction in serving the community. 

After earning an NCC associate degree in business management in 2007, Tisdale continued her studies at East Stroudsburg University. She recently graduated with a master's degree in management and leadership, on the public administration track, and a minor in psychology.    

Now, she looks forward to a career in the federal government or as an adviser in a higher education setting. 

Throughout her journey, she has found that other students like to confide in her.  She continues to be an inspiration to others:  "No matter what anyone says, you can do anything," she says. 

© Northampton Community College 3835 Green Pond Rd Bethlehem, PA 18020 610-861-5300