building a brighter future

laura's story

A UW Certificate scholarship paves the way for a mom to return to the world of work

A stay-at-home mom for more than a decade, Laura Kirch was nervous about re-entering the job market. Would her skills still be relevant? Was there any way to offset the long gap in her resume? Could she adapt to business meetings and sales presentations after so many years of play dates and school functions?

She found the answer to those questions in the UW project management certificate program — the path to developing highly sought-after work skills along with an impressive University of Washington credential.

I’m embarking on a journey to create a new chapter for myself and my three children. I’m excited to learn new skills and to show my children what strength, bravery and determination looks like.

Laura Kirch

There was just one problem: Laura couldn’t afford to pay for the program.

“We were a one-income family with twin 8-year-old girls and a son who’s 11,” explains Laura, who also was caring for her very ill father in their home. “I was just thinking about going back to work and the certificate program would be a perfect fit with my degree and the experience I already have.”

Fortunately for Laura, the University recognized her potential and awarded her one of the 10 inaugural UW Certificate Scholarships.

“The certificate is going to add another credential to my resume and my academic list — and it definitely will build my confidence because the knowledge will be so fresh,” says Laura, who envisions a career in interior design for a construction or remodeling company. “And, it’s the UW. That’s impressive. Having both the certificate and my degree will make me proud.”

For Laura, this opportunity is about more than building job skills — it’s about building a brighter future. “I’m embarking on a journey to create a new chapter for myself and my three children. I’m excited to learn new skills and to show my children what strength, bravery and determination looks like.”


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