Every day, Amy Yager was ready to hit the books.
But before that, she needed to take her kids to school, go to work and spend time doing volunteer work or at one of the two on-campus organizations she was involved in.
But no matter how much she had to do, she knew she could get it done.
Yager, 26, graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in Carroll in May and was awarded three different scholarships for her hard work, grade-point average and drive.
A Coon Rapids native, Yager currently lives in Carroll with her three kids, Kyliana Greer, 9, Cobain Greer, 8, and Kayline Holland, 2. Her parents, Linda Hachmeister and Jeff Yager, still live in Coon Rapids.
Although her career at DMACC was always a busy one, Yager made the most of it.
In school, Yager studied human services and liberal arts and was involved in the school’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society as well as the DMACC Carroll campus activities board.
She also works at Family Resource Center as a labor home staff member and volunteers at Court Appointed Special Advocates in Crawford County.
When she was wrapping up school, she decided to apply for a few scholarships to see what happened. After DMACC, Yager planned to go to Iowa State University to study child and adult family services, and when she was finished there, her dream was to complete her master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa.
But as a single mother, her biggest hurdle was figuring out how she would pay for it all, Yager said.
“I was really sad to leave DMACC, but I definitely feel like I am on a new adventure,” she said. “Iowa State (University) is really beautiful, and it has a great program. I was really stressed out because of financial aid and coming up with the money to keep going to school, but this made a really big impact, I think.”
Yager was one of 10 people out of 2,800 applicants nationwide to receive the Hires Transfer Scholarship for $1,875 a semester. She also received the All-State Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholarship for $1,500 and the All USA Academic Team Scholarship, which covered her full tuition at Iowa State University.
Originally, Yager said, her plan was to apply for a few scholarships and see if she received any. But when she found out she won all three? It was a bit of a shock, she said.
“It’s really helpful to me because I am a single mom, and I have three kids and I am trying to work through school, too,” she said. “That financial relief helped a lot.”
For as long as she can remember, Yager has wanted to work with women and children who have experienced trauma, and she said her classes at DMACC really helped her open up and know she was making the right decisions and was on the right track, she said.
“I think I always had it in my mind that I wanted to work in the field, and I had circumstances that were really set in stone, but when I came to DMACC, I think I really grew a lot in (instructor) Teresa Friesen’s classes,” Yager said. “I really felt like I grew as a person in her classes, too.”
The small, intimate classes at DMACC and support from all of her instructors were really what helped her grow, she said.
“I think the small environment was very helpful, because you got to talk to teachers or professors one-on-one,” Yager said. “I think a lot of the human-service classes just apply to any situation in life, and we did a lot of experience-oriented stuff, or she would tailor it to what we were interested in. My English classes also helped me grow with communicating. I was so shy before I came to DMACC.”
Even though she now is enjoying Iowa State University, Yager still misses DMACC — the school that helped her grow and supported her both academically and financially.
“It was really amazing,” she said. “I wish I could keep going to DMACC, honestly. Iowa State is great, too. The professors at DMACC are just really great. They are really involved with their students. I had a lot of support there. The clubs I was involved in were really supportive, and (Provost) Joel (Lundstrom) was really supportive of everybody.”