Returning adult students get second chance with degree

Kelli Shultess Finds Passion in Applied Psychology Program

When Kelli Shultess moved from Chicago to Berks County with her fiancee, she experienced a bit of culture shock. She also found that it was difficult finding a good job without a college degree. Eventually, she found a position with Godiva Chocolatier in the accounts payable/receivable department, and her supervisors were very pleased with her work and wanted to promote her but could not because she didn?t have a degree, so they recommended that she return to school.

Although she had trepidations about returning to college, eventually Shultess decided that?s what she wanted to do, but not to study finance. Her passion was helping others. She met with Dr. Brenda Russell, Associate Professor of Psychology, who she credits with encouraging her to enroll and complete her degree in Applied Psychology.

Shultess earned an associate degree in liberal arts in 1991 and found that she was able to transfer the credits into the Applied Psychology degree program and complete her degree in just five semesters.

?It?s the best decision I ever made to come here and enroll in the Applied Psychology program,? states Shultess. ?The faculty was amazing.?

The Applied Psychology program stresses internships, and Shultess completed internships at the Reading Drug and Alcohol Center and Kids Peace, as well as several research-based internships.

Shultess received the Vera Rubin Award for excellence in a non-science course. She was a member of the Psi-Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and she is an avid runner.

She has already enrolled in Kutztown University?s master?s degree program in Counseling and will begin her studies in January 2014.

?You can do anything you put your mind to; you just have to want it bad enough,? she summarizes.

Al Kudel Returns to Roots in Engineering

After working at Dana for eleven years, the company announced it was selling its Structural Products Group to Mexican-based Metalsa and moved some of its offices to Michigan. So Al Kudel, a product engineer with the company, was faced with a choice: move to Michigan or take advantage of funding for education through the Trade Reform Act and go back to school. He chose the latter and will graduate in December with a B.S. in Electro-Mechanical Engineering.

Kudel had already taken some courses at the college while still working for Dana, so he was able to complete his degree in just three years. He plans to continue working as a mechanical, product, or structural engineer and he has already had several interviews.

He credits Penn State Berks with giving him a competitive edge and commented that he enjoyed coming back to school.

Kudel and his wife have two adult children. They reside in Schuylkill County.