Editor's note: This is the second in a series of stories profiling nontraditional students in the region who have gone back to school to "work smarter."
When Jennifer Roesler moved to Valparaiso in January 2005, she was looking for a way to expand her world.
"I grew up in Alexandria, Ind.," she said. "It's a very small town with limited opportunities. I have found many more opportunities in Northwest Indiana, particularly Valparaiso University."
Roesler, 24, graduated from Alexandria-Monroe High School in 2001, which had an enrollment of 659 students in the 2006-07 school year.
She opted against college and obtained a full-time job at Magnequench in Anderson, Ind., which manufactures magnets. She transferred to the Valparaiso plant in 2005.
Roesler, who is not married, continued to work there, though the plant had scaled back greatly until early this year when the company laid her off, closing its local facility.
Roesler already had begun to "work smarter" by going to college. She transferred from Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis and enrolled at Valparaiso University.
"VU is much smaller than IUPUI," she said. "It used to be about 120 people in my class. We can work with the instructors more closely, and that's been nice."
Roesler is working toward an associate's degree in social/behavioral sciences. She eventually hopes to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in business administration.
Roesler would like to work as an industrial organizational psychologist, performing tasks such as analyzing company morale. She's also interested in traveling and hopes to work for a company with international ties.
"I think the Working Smarter seminars can help to inform people about the opportunities out there," she said. "Sometimes people get to the point where they think they have gone as far as they can go in their education and career."
Valparaiso University, Purdue University North Central and Ivy Tech Community College - Valparaiso are partnering to offer a joint session for the Working Smarter seminar. It will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday. It will be held at Valparaiso University, Kretzmann Hall Board Room, 1700 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso.