Enrolling as a traditional student is easy when you are fresh out of high school and not tied down by the responsibilities that come with age. Deciding to finish your bachelor’s degree when you are grown and married is much more of a challenge. Denise DeMarco, of Cranberry, found herself in that situation when she was completing her associate degree in psychology at Butler County Community College. She had the desire to finish her bachelor’s degree but was constrained by the duties of her married life. She needed a program that offered local classes and a major that sparked her interest.
Because Geneva College is a Christian college, Denise was immediately drawn to it. She investigated the Degree Completion Program and was pleased to see that it offered classes in 11 different locations, including nearby Beaver Falls. Because the DCP is tailored to students with full-time jobs, its classes meet only one night a week to reduce the time spent away from work and home. In this program she also discovered a major that intrigued her: community ministry.
In the community ministry classes Denise found that she could pursue her own ministerial interests. “Community ministry relates to service and, as a servant of the Lord, each person in my class had different God-given interests,” Denise said about her choice of major. She noted that each person’s area of interest became more developed as the program continued, and each person headed in a different direction.
Denise utilized resources within the program to help her follow and better increase her interests. Each class builds upon the previous class, and is organized in a way to keep the student on task and to proceed into the next class. Once she graduated from the program, Denise was not left to search for a job on her own. She made use of Geneva’s career development department and worked with an advisor to build her resume according to her strengths and interests.
Denise has used her degree in community ministry from Geneva College’s Degree Completion Program to open many doors for her and her ministry. As a specialist at the Grief Recovery Institute, she lends her support to those coping with the death of family or friends.
She also began her own business named Covers of Comfort, Quilts of Remembrance. Denise uses clothing and other items of a lost loved one to make a quilt for those who are grieving. She also works part-time at an office, and volunteers at a local nursing home.
Says Denise, “The Degree Completion Program helped me grow in my faith and lay a better foundation for the work I do for the Lord.”
- by Abby Cruse