One Saturday at a time, this healthcare industry veteran completed classes until she earned her bachelor’s degree.

A Dream Come True

Image of Elms/HCC grad Shelly Dansereau, who earned a BA in healthcare management

Shelly Dansereau ’18 is something of an expert when it comes to communicating with insurance providers. For the past 20 years, she has worked diligently at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, resolving issues with medical claims as a billing and collection representative. When she decided to earn her bachelor’s degree in healthcare management, her goal was as much about career advancement as it was about personal achievement.

“It was awesome. I can’t describe it in words,” she said.

This mother of three from Chicopee, MA, is used to operating on all cylinders. In addition to picking up the occasional overtime shift on the weekends, she also finds herself at soccer games throughout the week, cheering on her oldest daughter. In 2013, Shelly earned her associate’s degree in computer information systems from Holyoke Community College (HCC). When she realized that a bachelor of arts degree (BA) was the new gold standard for jobs in the healthcare industry, she decided to enroll in the Elms/HCC off-campus program to earn her BA.

It’s just an awesome feeling to know I’ve accomplished another goal.

“I had to give up overtime on Saturdays to go to school,” she said. “But it benefited me because in 20 months I got my degree, compared to four years as a traditional student.”

A Wise Investment

While challenging, Shelly said that attending classes all day on Saturdays for two years was worthwhile in the end. Not only was she comfortable with the subject matter, but she had the opportunity to strengthen her communication and critical thinking skills as well. Taking advantage of online classes also meant that she could study when it was convenient.

“The off-campus program was one of the best benefits that Elms/HCC could have offered,” she explained. “For people like myself who are working full time and raising a family—and want to go back to school but can’t find the time to go to a four year college—it was great to have this option.”

‘The off-campus program was one of the best benefits that Elms/HCC could have offered.’

Now that she has her degree, Shelly said that she can see a wider range of career opportunities available to her. She urges other working professionals to keep this in mind when considering a degree program.

“I highly recommend the Elms/HCC partnership because the professors are wonderful and the program coordinator is always willing to help in anyway possible,” she said. “Don’t ever hesitate to sign up for a program. It will be the best investment you ever make. And remember, most jobs are starting to require degrees now.”

Are you thinking about going back to school for your bachelor’s degree, but don’t know where to start? Contact us to learn more about how Elms/HCC can help you achieve your dream like Shelly did.