It’s been nearly three decades and just as many majors, but Cynthia Stanley finally has it all figured out. You might say she finally saw the light … which isn’t all that surprising given she has spent the past 19 years working at the Warren-based General Electric lamp plant.
However, when news broke in January 2013 that the plant would be winding down operations within the next year, Stanley decided it was time to ramp up her higher educational pursuits.
“I came back (to Kent State University at Trumbull) in 2009 with the idea of pursuing an associate’s degree in criminal justice,” said Stanley, “but then I became more involved with scheduling, production, inventory and things of that nature at the plant, and thought that maybe business administration would make more sense.
“And after the news came out, I knew I couldn’t stop at an associate’s (degree),” continued Stanley. “The only way I’m going to get where I really want to be, to get further than where I am now, and to one day hold a management position, is by earning a bachelor’s degree.”
Despite the soon-to-be shuttering of the Warren plant, Stanley, who has taken advantage of the GE tuition reimbursement program to fund her education, will be able to continue her pursuit of that bachelor’s degree thanks to a transfer to the GE distribution center in Ravenna.
“The closing of the plant, and soon having to drive further to work, doesn’t make for the easiest schedule,” Stanley said, “but having the flexibility of evening and online classes (at Kent State Trumbull), has been something that’s allowed me to continue my education.
“But, if I had to make a choice between the two, I’d have to take in-person over anything else. I really enjoy the interaction and real-life stories that come from being in the same room with other students. It really adds another layer to your learning and has been very valuable to me. The asking of questions by others and hearing answers to things you might not have otherwise thought about. I guess I’m just a classroom kind of girl.”
The coming new year will not only provide a workplace-related change of scenery for Stanley, but will also mark the halfway point in her educational journey, as the 1984 graduate of McDonald High School will receive her associate’s degree in applied business this December.
“You’re never too old to learn,” Stanley added. “Coming back to this university has been a great experience all the way around … the professors and students alike have made the entire experience worthwhile. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!”
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