LANSING, Mich. – A mother and daughter that both started their education at Lansing Community College (LCC) will now graduate with their bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice together from Ferris State University on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. The University Center located on LCC’s Downtown Campus is a partnership between LCC and five, four-year universities which includes Ferris State. Universities partnering with LCC offer junior and senior level courses leading to over 30 Bachelor's degrees, and several post-baccalaureate certificates and Masters Degrees.
Maria Macias the mom, and Daniela Hernandez Perez the daughter, are realizing the culmination of a hard fought dream.
This family's educational journey has had obstacles, ups and downs and challenges, but they have persevered through it all together. When Maria started classes at LCC she spoke virtually no English, and would often leave class and cry in the bathroom because she was having difficulty understanding the language. She credits her LCC advisor, Felipe Lopez Sustaita for encouraging her to never give up.
Although no longer at LCC Lopez still remembers Maria. When he was told that she was preparing to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice along with her daughter, Daniela he said, "When I meet Maria she came to LCC to learn English; she was so hardworking and she kept dreaming big. I knew that whatever she put her mind to she could accomplish." Lopez went on to say, "Maria is hard working, humble, and her professional standards are admirable. During periods of high stress, Maria has successfully managed multiple tasks and provided vigorous and unquestioning results. Maria is always respectful and will not tolerate second-rate work from herself or anybody else."
Today, Maria speaks with courage and exudes confidence in her ability. She plans to use her degree to help in the fight to end human trafficking in Michigan. According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, "human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people profit from the control and exploitation of others." Michigan is ranked 10th by the FBI for this crime that occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control another person for the purpose of soliciting labor or services against their will. Victims include children and adults.
Maria's daughter, Daniela describes herself as, "a kid that stayed in trouble when she was younger," but her mom had rules for her to follow; "you either go to school or get a job." Daniela opted to follow her mom into the criminal justice field.
Daniela has set her sights on working in the probation field. This career choice will take her into the lives of offenders as she monitors behaviors to prevent them from committing new crimes. When asked if the road ever became so difficult that she wanted to give up, her response was a very quick and stern, "No." She said, "You just have to want it bad enough, you just have to get it done and not use excuses."
Maria's advice to others looking to further their education is to just keep going. "It doesn't matter what you do you'll always have obstacles," she said. "But if you work hard and study hard, stay organized and just keep going you can do it."
Maria shared that her youngest daughter has a quote from Walt Disney in her bedroom that they all cling to and it says, "If you can dream it you can do it."
Congratulations ladies, you did it. Get ready world, here comes Maria and Daniela.
About Lansing Community College
Lansing Community College, founded in 1957, is the fifth-largest community college in Michigan, serving more than 23,000 students across a six-county area each year. LCC offers courses in general education for those interested in transferring to a four-year institution, career and workforce development, developmental education and personal enrichment. To meet the professional development and training needs of regional employees, the college offers customized programs for credit, non-credit and continuing education. The University Center at LCC offers students the opportunity to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from five partner universities on the downtown LCC campus. For more information, visit lcc.edu.
Lansing Community College is an equal opportunity, educational institution/employer.