Several years ago, a 22-year-old Logansport resident walked through the doors of the former Landmark Adult Learning Center, her young son in tow, looking to start classes toward earning a General Education Development certificate.
Now, 29-year-old Yesenia Martinez is getting ready to start her last few classes she needs to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. And she doesn’t plan on stopping there.
Martinez is one of 45 students and counting who are enrolled at the Logansport satellite campus of Trine University. She completed an associate’s degree through Ivy Tech in Logansport before starting at Trine in 2011.
Both schools are reporting enrollment increases this year.
Tami McMahan, director of Trine’s Logansport campus, noted that the 45 students who had enrolled for fall classes represented an increase from last fall’s final head count of 42. More important, she said, those students had registered for more credit hours.
As of Thursday, students at Trine-Logansport had registered for 486 credit hours, up from 444 hours last fall. Registration for the fall closes a week from today, the start of the fall term.
Through Friday, in the Kokomo region of Ivy Tech, of which Logansport’s campus is a part, students had registered for more credit hours’ worth of classes than last year, according to Krysten Hinkle, associate director of admissions for Ivy Tech-Logansport. Classes there start today.
The number of Hispanic students registering in Ivy Tech’s Kokomo region is also up, Hinkle said, a phenomenon she suggested could be attributed mainly to enrollment at the Logansport campus.
Martinez, born in Chicago to Mexican parents, had dropped out of high school after her sophomore year. She thinks it was part of being a “stubborn teenager,” she said, but not having her high school diploma left her with few employment options when she moved with her family to Logansport at the age of 18.
She got a job at the Tyson Fresh Meats in Logansport, but soon decided she didn’t want to stay there.
“That’s not for me at all,” she said, so she quit and decided to start taking GED classes. She started at Landmark while she was pregnant with her second child, a daughter.
She received her GED certificate in the summer of 2005 and started work in the Logansport WIC office as an office assistant.
Her third child was born in the meantime, and in 2007, she decided to go back to school.
“I felt like I wasn’t getting paid enough, to be honest,” she said. “I just wanted a better education and job.”
However, Martinez didn’t expect college to be easy, since she was a wife and a mother to three young children. She continued working part-time through her first semester at Ivy Tech, then resigned to attend school full-time and take care of her children.
Many classes and two internships later, she graduated in the spring of 2009 with an associate’s degree in criminal justice. She was the first member of her immediate family to go to college.
Martinez started pursuing a bachelor’s degree through an out-of-town college, but drive-time took too much away from her other duties, she said, so she transferred to Trine University.
There, her status as an Ivy Scholar — earned by maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average at Ivy Tech — guaranteed her a scholarship, according to McMahan.
Martinez began studying to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is slated to finish either this fall or in the spring, depending on class schedules.
After she graduates once again, she’s planning to start classes in Trine’s master’s program with a concentration in forensic psychology. She eventually wants to obtain a job working with troubled youth.
But her college education has helped more than just her job prospects, she said. She understands more about herself, is more patient and is better at balancing child care with other duties, she said.
“I’m more mature, prepared,” Martinez said. “I’m a mother now, with goals set.”
• Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.