After graduating from high school in California, Glen Johnson went straight to work, transporting patients and providing patient information for Kaiser Hospital. From there, he enlisted in the Navy and spent 10 years as a medical corpsman. Upon his release, he took a job as a programmer in the information technology department of AT&T. In his mid-thirties, rattled by the economic downturn, he went back to school and shifted his focus back to medicine. He is enrolled in Truman’s Nursing program and in its bridge program with DePaul University, working toward a four-year RN degree. He helps pay tuition by working with other veterans through Truman’s Financial Aid Office. “I was afraid I was a bit too old for it,” he said of going back to school. “Actually, it’s the older adults who take it more seriously because they know what they want.”
Most students wait until grad school to publish. Lacy Simons’ original research on how a variety of grass protects itself from insects was published by the International Society of Chemical Ecology (more 600 biologists and chemists in 35 countries) while Lacy was a student at Truman College. Pursuing associate degrees in chemistry and biology, she helped pay her way as a work-study in the Biology Department and joined the Center for Science Success (CSS), a District program providing hands-on training in research, scientific writing and presentations, access to regional and national science meetings, and the chance to meet with scientists and visit laboratories at four-year institutions and in the industry. Now at Loyola University, majoring in medicine, she also coordinates the CSS for the City Colleges of Chicago. “It really was the gateway for everything else,” she said.
Juan Martinez went from university psychology major to Benedictine monk to managing a pizzeria. To be fair, he took the last job to earn enough money to go back to the university. He also had to be proficient in English, a university requirement in his native Mexico, so he enrolled in English as a Second Language at Truman. He qualified for the Transitional Bilingual Learning Center (TBLC), for students who are academically ready for college but lack the English skills, and earned a Harold Washington Scholarship and membership in the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. He also served as president of the Student Government Association. Today, he’s a student at Loyola University, where he majors in … psychology.