June 08, 2023

“Education is important to me as a parent. I really wanted both of my children to see that learning does not stop at high school, and in order to obtain careers we are passionate about, we have to put in the extra hard work of school. My husband finished his bachelor’s degree and an MBA. They see him as the breadwinner and know that he handles lots of professional situations at work. I wanted them to see that women–moms in particular–have the same skill set and can work just as hard to build a long career and future for themselves.”

Sara Waddle is a strong, positive role model. The new Century College graduate is dedicated to her studies and career, and was recently awarded the 2023 Outstanding Student Award (Gender Studies) in recognition of her hard work.

“I was honored to find out I was an outstanding student! It was like the icing on the cake as I completed my last Gender Studies courses and graduated with my Associate in Arts degree.

Century College: An Affordable Choice

Sara’s decision to attend Century College was a strategic career move.

“I chose Century College because it was close to my home, and I knew it would be more affordable. Those were two very important things. I planned on doing mostly asynchronous classes, but if I needed to go into the building, I wanted to make sure that it was close to home,” she says. “Also, for my first 2 years of college, I wanted to be as cost-efficient as possible. And, the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) program was a good pathway for me.”

Century College Foundation scholarships also helped make education more affordable for Sara. “I was so grateful to apply for and receive scholarships through Century. I applied for all that pertained to me. I received the Kurt Rhetka Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 in psychology, and also a Gender Studies scholarship to complete my capstone and some credits for the certificate.

“In addition, my GPA allowed me to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, which in turn opened more opportunities to apply for funding. As I left Century with my AA, I transferred to St. Kate’s University, and just for being a member of PTK, I was awarded $1,800!”

Helping and Serving Others

Like millions of others during the height of the global pandemic, Sara found it difficult to deal with the resulting stress—and her experiences also helped shape her career decisions.

“I chose Psychology after going through my own sort of mental health crisis. During the pandemic, my mind and body hit a real breaking point with mothering, working for not enough money, and surviving in this chaotic life,” Sara remembers.

After finding a cognitive behavioral therapist, and receiving help for anxiety, Sara realized she wanted to do the same for others. “I want to unearth and dig into clients’ pasts, to relieve their current psychological suffering so they can be free to pursue life wholly.

“After I began the psych path, Gender Studies really appealed to me. In the current atmosphere of news and media, I feel a strong undercurrent of pursuing women’s equity and rights. Gender Studies in general is a bit misunderstood, so I decided to dive deeper in order to form connections that will empower others later in my psychology career.”

Future Plans

Century College fit neatly into Sara’s career plans. “I completed the MNTC Psychology pathway, and it applied towards my bachelor’s degree credits at Saint Kate’s as I pursued my 4-year degree.

“I am thankful for my advisor, Meredith Rogers, who always met with me and helped me understand what I needed to accomplish to graduate. The Gender Studies certificate will help me understand many aspects of culture and how society views and treats each gender,” she adds.

Thanks to Sara’s smart choices and hard work, she’s got a solid educational foundation for her career, and is looking forward to an exciting future. She will bring her commitment, experience, and compassion to her new career field.


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