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Almost 30 years out of high school and working a full-time job, Becky Bozarth struggled over whether to go back to school and earn a college degree.
She graduated from Fort Zumwalt High School knowing that college wasn’t really a financial option, so she took a job in a factory. But after two and a half years, Becky decided it was not something she wanted to do long-term.
At age 22, Becky made the decision to follow in the footsteps of her father and grandfather by entering the military. “The military was just the right direction for me to go in at the time,” she said. “It straightened me out, and I started to see myself working there long-term.”
Becky spent the next 25 years working for the military in the Missouri Air National Guard. “There were so many things that the military instilled in me,” Becky said. “I gained a sense of commitment, accountability and, most importantly, pride.”
With a renewed sense of direction and, later, a new law providing tuition payments for her military status, Becky started to think more seriously about attending St. Charles Community College, which was right up the road.
Although important to her, school always seemed a little selfish because she already had so much on her plate. “Being employed full-time, having a home and family to take care of and going to school did not seem like a workable choice,” said Becky. “I worried about whether my family would be taken care of if I took this big step.”
Everything changed when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2000. She started to look at life differently, and in 2003, at age 43, with tuition reimbursement available and her new cancer-free outlook on life, Becky took the leap and enrolled at SCC.
She had taken classes here and there in the past, but this time she made a serious commitment to herself to earn a degree in Business Technology at SCC. “My husband, Rick, really encouraged me. And at the time my son, Josh, thought it was really cool that his mom was in school,” she said.
While at SCC, Becky made a career change and landed a job at Lincoln County Medical Center (LCMC) in Troy, Mo., as an office manager in the billing department. After a year in that position, she moved to the nursing department and found her home.
The classes she took at SCC translated directly to her everyday work. “I really enjoy it when people at work come to me for help with Excel,” said Becky. “I may not be the best at it, but I have learned so much from my classes at SCC that I am confident in my ability to help.”
Since Becky works full-time, she was only able to manage one or two evening classes a semester. After taking 10 years of classes at SCC, she completed her associate degree in Business Technology.
“I was so grateful not to have a time limit for earning my degree,” she said. “It took me a while, but I got my degree, and I believe I’m a better person for earning it.”
In 2015, Mercy took over LCMC, now called Mercy Hospital Lincoln.
"Our new leadership is awesome! They brought in integrated electronic software systems for nursing and administration that make it easier to do my day-to-day duties."
Last updated: Feb. 20, 2017