Bay College human services major Erin Wery plans to graduate very soon. A first-generation college student, Erin has taken an unconventional – but ultimately successful – path to earning a college degree.
Years ago, Erin was a high school student at Mid Peninsula School in Rock; she graduated in 2010. After graduating, she focused on working full-time in various positions, including a stint helping at her family’s gas station. “I was also a stay-at-home mother for about three years,” she said.
In 2019, she decided to start taking classes at Bay once her son was old enough. Her family was one of the primary factors behind her choice to start college – she said she wanted to build a better life for them.
Erin’s “break” between high school and college influenced her choice of major, as well. One of the positions she worked in during this time helped her discover her passion for helping people. “I worked with elderly people for a long time – I really enjoyed doing things for them,” she said.
Things have been going well at Bay for Erin so far. “My learning experience at Bay has been wonderful. I have received such wonderful support on every end – financial, academic, and more,” she said.
In addition to her studies, she has become closely involved with the TRIO Student Support Services Program over the past few years. “I’ve been doing my internship here, as well. This has provided me with lots of support and education,” Erin said.
This program helps first-generation college students, low-income students, and students with disabilities succeed. Through TRIO, eligible students can receive support for their classes and their career plans.
In her internship as a TRIO peer mentor, Erin has balanced many different responsibilities. Some of her duties include assisting with tutoring, keeping students informed about upcoming TRIO events and activities, helping students navigate Bay’s Escanaba campus, and connecting students with the services they need.
Erin plans to graduate from Bay at the end of the fall 2021 semester later this year. “When I’m finished here, I will pursue my master’s degree purely online,” she said, noting she is still narrowing down her options for online education.
She has also started looking at job opportunities in her field of choice, noting that she could work for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
No matter where she ends up, Erin said she will always appreciate her time as a Bay student. “It’s been really good,” she said.