Stefanie Garcia learned about the college benefit through a Teamster 117 email she received about a year ago. She followed the link to discover that a 2 year online AA degree offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. The best and the most surprising part was that the program was free of charge for Teamsters.

If I weren’t in a union, I wouldn’t have continued my education.

Stefanie is a working mother. She works at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla as a senior secretary for captains in the information hub. She moved there from the West side and grew to love the town for its people and its schools.

When faced with a decision to enroll, she had to think twice even when tuition was no longer a barrier. No one from her immediate family had a college degree, and her plate was already full with family and work that she loved.

Stefanie chose Criminal Justice. The college accepted the credits from some education she had done a while back. Little did she know that soon a virus would change all familiar circumstances, and she would have to balance her schoolwork with schooling her kids at home. Nevertheless, she persevered and is graduating this July.

“I love it,” says Stefanie. “If I weren’t in a union, I wouldn’t have continued my education.”

With her family overjoyed, she decided to continue her studies further towards a bachelor’s degree. Today she is eager to share her success with fellow Teamsters and encourages them to apply.

“If I could do it, anyone can, no matter what your age is.”