The first thing Jenneca Foster said when she arrived at SFCC’s Sedalia campus was how pretty it was. While most alumni grow used to seeing Sedalia’s 122 rolling, green acres, Foster has only visited the flagship campus a handful of times.
At age 25, she enrolled in the college’s Business Management program and completed the entirety of her coursework online while working full-time as an office support assistant at Tipton Correctional Center.
“Before I started with the state, I was a debt collector,” Foster explains. “Obviously I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I wanted to further my career.”
Going back to school felt like a daunting transition, but SFCC was the perfect next step.
“It seemed more welcoming,” she says. “With State Fair, all my teachers responded relatively quickly to any questions I had, or I could call them up and talk to them about it. With a university, I didn’t feel that it’d be that easy.”
Foster notes one teacher in particular, Ross Blankenship, helped her arrange a for-credit internship within the correctional facility while maintaining her full-time job.
After graduating from SFCC, Foster’s search for new opportunities led her to the Office of Professional Standards in Jefferson City, this time as the Administrative Assistant to the Director.
“The semester I completed my degree, I went from working inside a facility, where I was around, at any given point, 1,200 offenders, to working in an office of seven employees,” she says. “It drastically changed.”
Now 30, a mother of two boys under two and pursuing her bachelor’s degree with Central Methodist University, Foster is an expert at time management, but she admits it has been a learning experience.
“Hectic is the only word that can describe it,” she says. “You just have to have a very strict schedule and stay on track.”
When asked if she had any advice for mothers who want to go back to school, Foster said, “Don’t give up. You’re going to have sleepless nights. You’re going to be tired all the time, but keep focused. Know what you want to do and do it. In the end, it’ll be better for your children.”
Story by Jackson Ingram
Summer 2017 Communications Intern
Marketing and Communications