Valuing Education Pays in Many Ways

Area professionals share thoughts about their education and career paths.
Aug 7, 2017
Deborah C. Gerbers

A formal education is the path many professionals take to achieve success in their respective careers. Benefits can include the college experience itself, higher earning potential and an overall increase in knowledge for a specific field. Five local professionals share their own education path and how it has impacted their lives and careers, and offer advice to the generations to follow.

Kellie McClung, Vice President, Treasury Management Officer, PNC Financial Services Group

I grew up in a family that values education and I continue to pass that belief along to my two sons. Growing up, I always knew I would graduate from college, it was just a matter of where and when. The parental guidance is critical in helping children and young people identify a future for themselves. 

My education opened doors for me and allowed me to choose a career that yields to my strengths in communication. Even though banking wasn’t my initial plan, it has been very beneficial to me, and I feel fortunate to have a 20-year career in banking. I minored in speech communications, so I had originally planned to pursue broadcast journalism; however, after graduating from college, an opportunity arose for me as a bank teller and then to enter the management training program. Now, as I serve corporate clients, my education has afforded me the opportunity to complete meaningful work and maintain meaningful relationships in northern Indiana.

Christopher M. Wing, MD, Interventional Radiologist, Fort Wayne Radiology

I grew up in a family that highly values education and made it a priority. I attended undergraduate at Cornell University and then Medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. I completed both my Radiology residency and Interventional Radiology fellowship at the University of Michigan Medical Center. 

I knew early on that I wanted to go into medicine, but knowing from the start what you’d like to do for a living is not always possible. I would suggest to young people unsure about which direction they’d like to go to take a variety of different college courses. This will enable them to decide which majors and subjects they like, and will hopefully narrow it down to an eventual career that will be fulfilling and successful.

Tracy Troyer, JD, Attorney, Troyer & Good

After high school, I went to Indiana University – Bloomington and earned a B.S. in business. I was accepted to the Indiana University School of Law so I spent the next three years in Bloomington working on my law degree. Both of my parents attended college, but neither of them graduated.  They helped engrain the expectation of earning a college degree and making sure my grades were good enough for admission. 

Kids need to understand that doors will only open for them if they have the right education that matches their skills, strengths and interests. Completing your education is going to give you choices and options in life.  You can decide what interests you and what will motivate you to find a fulfilling career that brings purpose to your life.

Jeff Taner, Managing Director, Dulin, Ward & DeWald

I grew up in a blue-collar family. My family always encouraged me and I think it was a given that I would go to college. I began college right after high school. I graduated from IPFW in May 1982 and started my career at Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc. in July of that year. I have now been with the same company for 35 years. I started as an entry level junior accountant and worked my way up to where I am now, the managing director of the firm. A career in public accounting as a CPA requires an education and the ability to pass the CPA exam. IPFW did a great job of preparing me for this. I successfully passed the CPA exam in November of 1982.

I think young people considering further education should find out where their gifts and talents are. I would recommend they have testing done to assist them with finding a career that is a match. College is not for everyone. There is a great need right now for skilled trades, so I strongly recommend a college education or learning a skilled trade.

Kanika Jaggi, MD, Family Medicine, Lutheran Health Physicians

I’d always wanted to go into medicine, so attending medical school was the only choice for me, but the training I received at Saba University School of Medicine in the Caribbean and the rotations I completed around the U.S. and Canada have made me more confident as a physician. My residency at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo gave me the opportunity and motivation to continue learning, so even now I continue to read to keep up-to-date. This way I can give the best care to my patients. 

Sometimes it might be tempting to take a job right out of high school instead of going to college because you’re making money right away. However, by furthering your education and bettering yourself, you’ll not only earn more in the long run, you will also have time to mature and experience things you wouldn’t be able to. I would advise young people to stay patient and push through, because continuing your education is very much worth it in the end.

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