Melisa Culbertson, of Valparaiso, earns her Purdue University Bachelor’s degree in Business this month, culminating years of study at Purdue University North Central.
Her journey began in 1992. She was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and while working at the exchange, it became very difficult to raise a child, pursue a career, and obtain an education at the same time. But she realized that she lacked some of the skills she would need in order to run her own business, so she decided to enroll in classes at PNC that were directly related to the knowledge that she needed to get ahead.
“I focused on the information that was being taught rather than concentrating on the letter grade I would earn,” she explained. “Every professor in each course in which I have participated has taught me something valuable.”
She took a course or two every semester. Her goal in attending PNC was not to simply earn a degree, but to gain knowledge. She explained that if she thought that she would learn something valuable in a class, she took it, regardless of whether it counted to her degree or not.
For example, she was not sure how to sit down to compose a good business letter, so she took a course in business letter writing.
She also wasn’t afraid to ask questions of her teachers or hesitant to seek advice. She found the Department of Business faculty members were willing to answer questions, offer ideas and help her find her way in the business world.
By 1997, she owned her own firm. But she continued to pursue her education.
“Purdue North Central helped me build my company and has contributed to its success one semester at a time,” said Culbertson.
“Life is a learning process and we continue to grow no matter how old we get or successful we become. We have to keep plugging along when things get difficult. Sometimes we make poor choices but we must realize that it is about the journey and not the destination.”
Culbertson faced a number of challenges as a working parent and student. She found unwavering support at PNC.
“I thank you the Purdue North Central faculty and the staff for being there for those of us who could not obtain a traditional education,” she said. “Each semester we faced obstacles in our lives that interfere with our ability to even get to campus and we were treated with dignity and respect. I found the faculty really care about us and encourage us to stay focused on our future. I am proud to be a graduate of the PNC College of Business and am honored to have had the opportunity to study under her professors including Dr. Derek Bjonback, assistant professor of Business; Dr. Andrew Weiss, professor of Business; Richard Panton, continuing lecturer Of Business; Tantatape Brahmasrene, professor of Business and Thomas Holets, continuing lecturer of Accounting.”