Student Spotlight: Karen Rutt

Karen Rutt

Karen Rutt

Associate in Science

Karen Rutt knows the impact of College of DuPage, having turned to the school three times.

“I attended COD my senior year of high school in 1995 in order to graduate on time,” she said. “I never really cared for school when I was younger. Since I’ve matured, that’s changed. I’ve realized that an education is the door to a future.”

After her high school graduation, Rutt enrolled at COD “because it was close and inexpensive.”

“I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my future. I was taking general education classes, hoping for that ‘aha’ moment.”

It never came. And with no clear goal in mind, she struggled and eventually quit. Fifteen years later, with a child on the way and meaningful work more imperative than ever, Rutt signed up for a five-hour career assessment class at COD. It pointed her to occupational therapy.

So she re-enrolled at College of DuPage, which had undergone a remarkable change since she had last been a student.

“Between the ‘old’ COD and ‘new’ COD, it’s like two different colleges,” she said. “The instructors were always top notch, but now there’s the restaurant, technology building, health and science center, homeland security, and immaculately landscaped grounds. These educational buildings represent real-life working situations.”

While at COD, Rutt joined Phi Theta Kappa and volunteered for such events as food drives and Rockin’ for the Troops. Having finished her Associate in Science degree and graduated with high honors, she has transferred to Elmhurst College, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s in exercise science and a minor in psychology. She is also enrolled in the honors program and has made the Dean’s List for two semesters.

Rutt is beginning to apply to professional schools as she plans to pursue a doctorate degree in occupational therapy.

“I have been getting in plenty of observation hours in a variety of settings with various ages and disabilities, and it’s confirming that this is my dream career,” she said. “I also try to volunteer as much as I can at a food bank, PADS or wherever I can fit my time in. It’s a bit hard with being a single mom, school year-round and shadowing, but I’m doing it.”

Rutt is grateful to taxpayers for making COD affordable and high quality.

“With your gift, you have built a stable and well-crafted foundation for thousands upon thousands of students,” she said. “You have given students faith that you believe in us. Your trust has created a better future for each student while strengthening the community as a whole. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.’ I believe this is true for each individual’s life and society as a whole. And for that, I humbly thank you.

“I had such a great experience at COD. The staff, students classes – everything was perfect. I already miss it. I could not be doing any of this without the support of my family, friends, professors and faculty. Without all of their support and caring, I would definitely not be where I am today.”

More about the Associate in Science degree

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

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