Tiffani Kintchen has always had one goal: to pursue her passion for working with people in a rewarding career.
She has held jobs in social work, community relations, volunteer coordination, and currently, fundraising and event planning, but none offered her the responsibility and challenge she craved. She dreamed of working with high school students in an academic environment, but that dream seemed unreachable.
“It finally dawned on me that because I lacked a college degree, I had put myself in a place that wasn’t allowing me to grow,” she said. “It held me back from career advancement.”
Returning to school as an adult learner would be challenging, and Kintchen knew this firsthand.
“I had attempted to go back to school on several occasions over the past 15 years and each time I quit,” she said. “[Going to school in addition to] being a wife and mother and working full time became a challenge.”
Kintchen knew she needed a program that would accommodate her busy life, and she looked to her friends and family for inspiration.
“I chose Baker after watching two friends and family members graduate from the program who are all my age,” Kintchen said. “I spent some time reading about the different programs and learned Baker made it easy and flexible to go back to school.”
Once Kintchen entered the Bachelor of Business Administration program nearly two years ago, she knew she had made the right decision.
“I loved it. The teachers were great and the courses were challenging,” she said. “I found myself using a lot of what I learned in my day-to-day work responsibilities that really helped me to better understand and apply my learning as I went along.”
The faculty support became crucial as Kintchen continued her educational journey. In November 2017, she was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer and worried that she would be unable to continue in her program. After speaking with her Baker enrollment counselor, she shared her diagnosis with her instructors, who accommodated her needs throughout her treatment.
“They really coached me along the way and checked in with me often to make sure I continued to stay on track,” Kintchen said. “It kind of helped me to continue to be accountable to my commitment.”
After undergoing chemotherapy while working full time and raising two children, Kintchen will graduate with her Bachelor of Business Administration. This is an especially important moment for her because she wants to set an example for her kids and encourage them to keep moving forward, even when they encounter setbacks.
Soon, her family will see her walk across the stage at Commencement to receive her diploma, setting off the first of what are sure to be many accomplishments.
“It is through Baker that I can finally secure my degree and get a job in a field that is rewarding to me personally, and not just financially,” said Kintchen. “I am looking to a leadership role working with high school kids, guiding them toward academic success. I am finally getting my degree and going to seek a career that is really mine.”