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Earning degree despite geographical challenge

  • headshot: Julie Sattler

Posted on July 24, 2018

Julie Sattler was making good progress on her bachelor's degree while living in northern Michigan, taking courses through Grand Valley's Traverse City Regional Center.

Sattler then moved two hours due east to Curran, on the state's sunrise coast, after her husband, John Sattler, was named superintendent of Fairview Area School District. It seemed to Sattler that she might be "sitting here with a bunch of credits and no direction."

A phone call to the Traverse City Center and a conversation with Jacquelyn Abeyta, student services coordinator, set Sattler's mind at ease and put her back on the path to degree completion. 

"Jackie was able to shed such light that I was able to see the end of the tunnel," Sattler said. "It's what attracted me to Grand Valley in the first place, my advisor spoke so highly of the staff and said they will do everything they can to help you succeed."

In August, Sattler will earn a bachelor's degree in group social studies with a minor in psychology. When she moved to Curran in March, Sattler had 16 credits to finish. Abeyta was able to develop a personalized degree plan that included taking an online course through Central Michigan University, two GVSU accelerated courses and an internship with Roger's Oscoda Enterprises, a family-owned business of hardware and grocery stores.

Abeyta said the geographical challenge meant a creative solution. "Through multiple departmental collaborations and an internship experience, Julie was able to complete her degree living across the state without ever stepping foot on campus," she said.

Sattler said listing her degree on her resume will help boost her chances when applying for jobs, and complete a goal she set for herself.

"I pushed my kids that they have got to get an education and told them you can't raise a family on minimum wage," she said. "All three will soon have degrees, and now I will, too. I'm proud of myself and my family is proud of me."