Yvonne Perez ’10, ’12

Yvonne-Perez-web-page-1When Joliet resident Yvonne Perez became a victim of downsizing during the mid-2000s economic downturn, she became scared by the fact that the only work she could get was temporary.

Perez decided she didn’t want to be scared and determined it was time to pursue a bachelor’s degree. But, the thought of going back to school was scary, too.

“I was afraid of the whole change thing because school is a big deal,” said Perez, who had previously earned an associate’s degree from a junior college. “I was afraid I wasn’t going to be successful.”

Perez started looking at universities, and even though she wanted an online degree program, she still wanted the university to be close to home. When she found USF, Perez said she knew it was the right match.

Plus, Perez felt another connection.

“My grandma’s name was Frances,” she said. “Although my grandma passed away, going to USF made me feel close to her. She’s been with me through the whole journey.”

Perez juggled the responsibilities of being a single parent, holding a full-time job and taking a full course load. She cites the excellent professors, supportive classmates, and the guidance of her student advisor as the reasons why she was able to stick with it—even when it wasn’t easy.

“My student advisor was my personal pep team,” Perez said. “She pushed me and encouraged me. Because of her, I knew I could finish.”

And she did. Perez earned her bachelor’s degree in management in 2010 and then went on to earn a Master of Science in Training and Development in 2012. She works in Planning and Operations Division of the Forest Preserve District of Will County.

Perez doesn’t hesitate to encourages other adults who are thinking about getting a bachelor’s degree to look at USF.

“You’re not just a number at USF, you’re a real person,” said Perez. “From my advisor who was my cheerleader to my professor who called me to make sure I was OK because I missed a week of class when something came up, everyone cares and treats you like family.”