When Amanda Little lost her job as a cook at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, she knew she needed a career with a better future and less uncertainty.
After exploring opportunities and realizing how cost-effective GateWay Community College’s degrees and certificates were, Little decided to pursue an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Accounting. It didn’t take long for her to realize she had made the right decision.
“I've been to four-year universities and other community colleges before, but I've never experienced this level of dedication and openness from teachers and staff,” Little said. “GateWay's response to the pandemic seemed to be to stand together and help each other through a time of crisis, and I can't tell you how happy it made me to be a part of that ethos.”
In addition to the teachers and staff she has interacted with, Little also enrolled in the EXCEL program, a student success program providing student scholars with assistance to navigate college toward degree completion and university transfer. They helped her connect to resources and staff who walked her through the financial aid and scholarship processes, so she could focus solely on her education.
With EXCEL, she also had the opportunity to gain additional skills and interactions from peer mentors. “I'm not a very social person, but as I take more opportunities to engage with teachers and other students, I become more motivated, engaged, and learn concepts more deeply,” said Little.
By next year, Little will be off on the next phase of her journey, working on completing her bachelor's degree in accountancy at Arizona State University. Additional future goals include obtaining her Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification by 2025.
Now that Little is on the road to cooking with a different set of tools, she has this to share with students, “You will get out of a class exactly as much as you put into it, so get your money's worth and push yourself.”