Satterfield's determination leads to graduation

May 2, 2003

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2003_05_02_a.jpgPLATTEVILLE - Perseverance has definitely paid off for UW-Platteville senior Traci Satterfield. Originally from Dixon, Ill., Satterfield will earn her civil engineering degree with an emphasis in transportation this May after a 10-year-long process in school.

After completing high school in Sterling, Ill., Satterfield went on to college at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. While attending school, she took on a nanny position for a nearby family and ended up withdrawing from Bradley to work full-time. Shortly after, the mother of the family decided to make a career change and Satterfield was no longer needed as a nanny.

Following these events, Satterfield decided to take on another nanny position during the day and enrolled in night classes as a full-time student at the College of Lake County in Illinois. After two years and following the birth of her five-year old daughter, Alissa, Satterfield withdrew from Lake County to move back home to Dixon. With the support and help of her family, she was able to enroll at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon and continued to raise her daughter.

Two and a half years ago, Satterfield decided to move to Platteville with her daughter and attend UWP with hopes of finally completing her degree. She chose UWP based on its small environment, closeness to home and strong engineering program. Throughout all her years in and out of college, Satterfield has always wanted to be a civil engineer working in transportation.

"The whole point is not to give up on your goals no matter what obstacles may get in your way," Satterfield said.

While attending UWP, Satterfield took on a job at the Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) in Galena, Ill. She currently works 20 hours a week, goes to school full-time and until recently, raised her five-year old daughter here in Platteville. Satterfield and her daughter decided that it would be best for Alissa to live with her grandparents and attend school in Dixon instead of pulling her out of school in Platteville after Satterfield's graduation. Satterfield feels her busy schedule has helped her balance her time more efficiently and has allowed her to accomplish more.

"I advise people to stay in school and finish it out the first time, and for those who have left, I encourage them to return and earn their degree," Satterfield said. "Even at my job at the DOT, I can see a big difference between being a technician and being an engineer. Having that degree allows an individual more career opportunities, growth and a higher salary."

Following graduation, Satterfield is looking forward to moving back to Dixon, spending time with her daughter and continuing to work at the DOT. She enjoys working at the DOT because it allows several different options of employment that cover many different aspects of being a civil engineer. Satterfield may go back to school some day to earn her MBA, but for now she feels that she has completed enough years of school and is satisfied with what she has accomplished.

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