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“It’s very important to me to set an example for my three children.”
For Marisela Perez, the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) at UVA represented the opportunity to fulfill her ambition of being the first person in her family to complete college. “It was very important to me to set an example for my three children,” she says. “And earning my degree was a source of personal satisfaction.”
As is the case with most adults raising a family and pursuing a career, Perez knew that the only way she would earn a bachelor’s degree was to be a part-time student. She was finishing her associate’s degree at Piedmont Virginia Community College when she heard about BIS. “I was very excited to learn that something like this was available,” she recalls.
Perez entered the BIS program in fall 2010 and attended classes in Charlottesville and online. She enjoyed the mix of students in the program and appreciated the attentiveness of her professors, but she admits that it took discipline to carve out the time needed to study and complete her assignments.
Then in 2013, Perez and her family moved back to her native California. Her employer and sponsor for her degree, Tri-Dim Filter Corporation, allowed her to work out of their West Coast location. As for continuing to make progress on her degree, she had the flexibility by enrolling in BIS’ online courses.
“It’s been a long road and being at a distance, there were times that I didn’t think I was going to make it,” says Perez. “The classes were always challenging and they pushed me to do my best. I’ve learned so much that it really has changed who I am now.”
Perez works as an Accounting Manager for Tri-Dim, and hopes for advancement. With her business concentration from BIS, she also envisions opening her own business in the future.