Finding themselves entering middle age, ensconced in careers and family life, Jill Cornett and her husband, Rick Schlottke, enrolled in an Introduction to Business class at MCC-Maple Woods. Under the guidance of instructor Jim Tjaden, neither of them ever looked back.
Jill Cornett had already completed her bachelor’s degree in English from Missouri Southern State University, and her husband Rick, who was working as a data analyst for an information technology company, was enrolling in a variety of courses as he explored the possibility of earning a college degree for the first time.
Rick’s aptitude for both data and geography led Tjaden to suggest he consider a geographic information systems certificate, which combines the two fields and prepares graduates to work in the field in two years. Rick completed to GIS certificate and graduated from MCC-Maple Woods in 2006, putting his skills to use immediately by going to work for the Clay County Assessor as a GIS technician. Rick went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in geography with a minor in business in 2008. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at Park University and is a planning technician and GIS analyst for the City of Harrisonville.
But Rick isn’t the only one who decided to pursue academics again after a long break. Jill credits Tjaden with enabling her to pursue a higher degree as well. She completed a Master’s of Public Administration degree from UMKC in 2007 and is currently serving as city administrator for the City of Savannah, Mo.
“After taking that business course, I found the confidence to go back to school,” she said. “Neither my husband’s or my accomplishments would have been possible if Dr. Tjaden hadn’t supported and encouraged us at Maple Woods.”