Her daughter’s college search led to a new education and career for Lisa Kremer, a member of LFCC’s technology services staff.
Becoming a college graduate three times over is something she had never dreamed would happen.
“It still has not sunk in that I have a bachelor’s degree,” Kremer said.
With determination and the support of numerous LFCC professors, she was able to fulfill a new dream.
A New Start
A single mom, Kremer had worked from home as a legal transcriptionist.
Then in 2008, the economy took a dive, and Kremer’s daughter, Kayla, graduated from high school and started looking at colleges.
“Checking out colleges with my daughter, I started to think, well, I could do this,” Kremer recalled.
She reached out to her sister, Associate Professor of Sociology Laurie Alphonse, who encouraged her to consider classes at LFCC.
Always having been interested in computers, Kremer had obtained a certificate in computer technology from LFCC in the 1990s, taking one course a semester while her children were small.
“But, I never thought I would be able to do an associate degree because [of] English – I had never written any type of papers – and my math was not good,” she said. “I was very insecure and very intimidated when I came here to check out possibly doing an associate’s degree.”
Then in her late 40s, Kremer decided to “just go for it because I thought, why not?”
Surrounded by Support
Not only did Alphonse continue to support Kremer, her first English professor, Mary Gearing, did as well. Kremer remembered going to Gearing, nearly in tears because she’d been out of school 30 years and was convinced she couldn’t write essays.
“I remember telling her, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’” Kremer said. “She just looked at me and said, ‘Yes, you can do this because I’m going to be here to help you every step of the way,’ and she definitely was, and I did really well in that class.”
She said those sorts of experiences peppered her time as an LFCC student.
“[All of my professors] were very helpful, very supportive,” Kremer explained. “They probably got sick of seeing me after class saying, ‘I don’t understand this,’ ‘I can’t do this.’”
Kremer made the decision to attend LFCC full time, and her sister encouraged her to apply for a work-study position in the IT department. Kremer got the job.
She started working with LFCC employee Janet Ping, setting up video conferencing for distance learning sessions.
“I remember being overwhelmed and just looking at her and saying, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’” Kremer recalled. “She said, ‘You can do this and I will help you.’”
She said there was one class she dreaded – public speaking with Associate Professor Andrea Ludwick -but “ended up loving the most because of” Ludwick.
“That taught me a lot of self-confidence,” Kremer said.
Kremer was able to share her college experience with her son, Steven, who earned an associate degree in general studies from LFCC.
“We had classes here together,” she said of Steven, who is now in the U.S. Air Force. “That was really cool.”
Kayla obtained her bachelor of fine arts degree in computer game design from George Mason University.
After earning her associate degree in general studies in 2011, Kremer decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree. She continued to work in LFCC’s IT department, first part-time, and then full-time.
Initially, Kremer attended George Mason University, but the commute proved too onerous, so she switched to an online degree program through Western Governors University. In November, she received her bachelor of science degree in information technology.
And, just this month, Kremer received a second associate degree from LFCC. She received the IT associate of applied sciences degree in information systems technology using some of her Western Governors University credits.
“And, I’m 55-years-old, so I feel like that’s an accomplishment because there are not that many of us older women pursuing a career change in IT,” Kremer said.
Even after switching from being an LFCC student/employee to strictly an employee, Kremer found her colleagues helpful in her academic pursuits. IT Technology Strategist and Chief Information Officer Richie Crim worked with her on scheduling around classes and exams, and library staff aided her in research.
“I just can’t say enough about how supportive and how helpful everyone is here,” Kremer said. “Not only has LFCC changed my life as far as my academic career – because I would never have gotten a bachelor’s degree otherwise – it also has impacted me as far as my job. It’s given me a career. I love working here.”