Candace Wilson

Candace Wilson – Associate in Arts Degree

Candace Wilson - Associates in Arts DegreeCandace Wilson - Associate in Arts Degree

Candace Wilson’s inability to calculate math nearly stopped her from achieving her dream of a college education. Thanks to the encouragement from instructors and classmates, she will see her dream come true when she receives her Associate of Arts degree during MCC’s Commencement ceremony.

Wilson said she has had an amazing three years at MCC, filled with dedicated professors and staff members, including math professor Kenneth Folts and Disability Resource Manager Cindy Jepsen.

Folts encouraged her when she felt like giving up.

“He told me that I was not allowed to quit school and that I just needed a little help, and not to feel bad, that there are some great people in high positions that cannot grasp math either,” Wilson said.

Folts referred Wilson to MCC’s Learning Resource Center. 

“This is when I met Cindy Jepsen, who also refused to allow me to drop out,” Wilson said.  “She referred me to people and organizations that could help with my learning disabilities. She keeps in touch and is the person I run to when that overwhelmed feeling comes back.”

In addition to learning disabilities, Wilson managed to overcome transportation problems and deaths of family members. She is the first person in her family to attend college.

Jepsen said she has enjoyed working with Wilson and participating in her educational journey. 

“Candace has shown strength and determination towards her academic goals and has enlightened those around her,” Jepsen said.  “I am very proud that she is graduating but will really miss her in the office.”

While at MCC, Wilson received a service learning award for serving more than 45 hours with Save the Family, a Mesa organization that provides transitional housing for homeless families.

Wilson, 54, grew up in California and now lives in Mesa. Her major is social work and her minor is criminal justice.  She plans to transfer to Arizona State University in the fall to earn a bachelor’s degree and continue on to a master’s degree.  She would like to seek a position in Maricopa County as a parole/probation officer or maybe work in addiction counseling.

Her advice to other students?

“Ask questions, always,” she said.  “Talk to your professors.  I chose to meet my online professors in person before classes to begin to get a feel of their personalities and this has been so beneficial.  Don’t be shy, most instructors here at MCC want us to succeed and blossom. Making an appointment to just introduce yourself may sound corny, but it really made my time here easier.”