Student Spotlight: Jennifer Wallace
When her youngest child entered kindergarten, Jennifer Beaman Wallace went to school, too.
Before college, she thought about going into medicine. But love, marriage and a growing family set her life on a different path. Then her marriage ended and Wallace became a single parent of six. She needed a livelihood and knew just what she wanted to do.
“I’m a mother and a nurturer, so nursing seemed like the perfect fit,” she said.
College of DuPage was close to home and offered Wallace the flexibility she needed to achieve her goal. Money was tight, so Wallace applied for COD scholarships, receiving two awards to help with tuition and other costs. For the next two years, Wallace attended class during the day while her children were at school. After dinner, the family did their homework together at the kitchen table.
Wallace graduated from COD’s Nursing program, passed her Registered Nursing Exam two months later and landed a job the very next month as Public Health Nurse, Family Case Manager for the DuPage County Health Department. She then worked as a nurse for the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office and is now at Northwestern Medicine, where she first worked in pediatrics and internal medicine and is now in triage.
“I love the diverse experience of all age ranges and I am learning so much,” she said.
Wallace also is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and plans to bridge into a Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
“My life has changed significantly in so many ways,” she said. “This would not have been possible without the support of the faculty and staff at COD.”
Wallace takes pride in all she accomplished and in the example she set for her children and others.
“I have been able to share my story with a couple of clients, single mothers, and hope that it gives them the strength somehow, in some way, to continue their education for a better life,” she said. “I don’t think a day goes by that I haven’t thought about my connection to COD and how it has changed my life.”
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