Professional Women's Network recognizes two MMU accelerated students with scholarship

Tracy Timmons '20 | BBA Human Resource Management
Real Estate Closer | Collins Community Credit Union

Brenda Lansing '22 | BAS Health Care Administration
Patient Services Manager | UnityPoint Health 

Mount Mercy students Tracy Timmons ’20 and Brenda Lansing ’22 received scholarships from the Professional Women’s Network, a networking organization in Cedar Rapids, and were recognized during a Sept. 26 reception. Both juggle busy lifestyles as parents and working professionals, and are a part of MMU’s adult accelerated program.

Even though neither woman was involved with PWN before receiving the scholarship, both pointed towards the necessity of similar organizations.

“I strongly believe it is important to create a professional network, as it is an invaluable resource for someone looking to grow professionally,” Lansing said. “Anytime there is a network of support and encouragement, success is bound to follow.”

Networking is an important facet of the business world, and both women recognize that. Timmons heard of the scholarship because a co-worker mentioned it. Without this connection, she never would have been able to pursue the opportunity.

“I think it is imperative to create a network of professional women that can help encourage and guide us as we take on new challenges,” Lansing said. “We all need that someone.”

MMU: Congratulations on being awarded a scholarship through PWN! How did you feel when you learned you won the scholarship?

TT:  I was shocked, but mostly felt grateful and appreciative that I was awarded the scholarship. 

BL:  When I learned of being awarded the scholarship, I was extremely excited. First, I was so grateful for the financial award to provide offset some of the financial burden for tuition expense. Secondly, I was excited to learn more about PWN and how I could contribute, as I too feel a commitment to help others grow professionally.

MMU: You’re both in Mount Mercy’s adult accelerated program. Tell me about your journey to Mount Mercy. What attracted you to the program?

TT:  I received my AA through Kirkwood Community College years ago, and I like how Mount Mercy and Kirkwood have partnered up with each other to make transferring into the accelerated program a seamless process. I appreciated the fact that Mount Mercy was able to refer me to Kirkwood to take a few more classes in order to save on tuition costs. I also think it is great that the campus is in Cedar Rapids, so I have the option of taking classes in person or online.

BL:  My journey ultimately started years ago. I have always had an interest in learning and growing in my knowledge as well as professionally. I had been contemplating what my next professional step might be and achieving a degree seemed to be the next step so I could be more selective as opportunities were presented.

I had received a flyer about the Mount Mercy adult accelerated program quite some time ago. As scary as it was, I took a leap of faith and visited with one of the advisors about the program and then took a pause for several more months. Once I sent my first child off to college, I thought I would have more time to pursue my degree and finally got the courage to enroll again at Kirkwood Community College to achieve an associate degree. 

I knew Kirkwood had a strong collaboration with Mount Mercy through the adult accelerated program, and felt that if I was going to be able to pursue a degree, I would have to do it as a non-traditional student. I have known others who have been successful in the Mount Mercy adult accelerated program and knew that it must be manageable.

MMU: Like many accelerated students, you both have busy lives outside of school. How does the program fit your busy schedule?

TT: Being a wife and mother of two little girls, my life is very hectic. The accelerated program has been beneficial for me because I have the option of taking a block off or choosing whether I take a class online or in person. There are some seasons that are busier than others, and being able to take an online course so I don’t miss any of the kids’ activities means a lot to me.

BL:  I feel the best part of the accelerated program are the short 5- or 10-week terms and being able to focus on one subject at a time. For me, it helps with not getting too overwhelmed. Managing a full-time job and being present for my family will continue to present challenges, but the accelerate program allows me to enroll in classes as I have the time, which promotes a better life balance.

MMU: What advice would you give to women who may be considering school, but isn’t sure she can accomplish a degree on top of her other responsibilities?

TT: I would have to say that I totally get it… it’s stressful. Women are usually the glue that holds everything together, but remember to use some of that energy on yourself. If you set your mind to it and commit to doing this for yourself, you will succeed. As much as I am doing this for myself, I also want my kids to know how important it is to finish what you start and to have an education in which you feel proud.

BL:  I would say that there is never an ideal time to work towards a degree. There are always other responsibilities that need attention, but I would encourage others to take a leap of faith. You will find the time; it’s a matter of prioritizing to reach the goal. 

Read about other highlighted women who received scholarships from the Professional Women’s Network.

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