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A ‘Walk the Talk’ kind of mom!

SCPS Fellow Program

Michelle Cygan, a paralegal in Caterpillar’s Legal Services Department, an SCPS Fellow and a single mom raising two wonderful boys, has all the qualities of hard-work, zeal and perseverance that we at School of Continuing and Professional Studies treasure most.

Michelle is currently pursuing her blended Saturday FASTRACK B.A. in Management, and expects to graduate in 2018. She was one of the early recipients of the SCPS Fellows Scholarship, a tuition assistance program that matches an employer’s financial funds up to $5,250. This means that Michelle had strengthened support – not just from Caterpillar, but from Loyola SCPS – as she undertook her journey to graduation.

Says Michelle “Loyola’s SCPS Fellows program allows for generous financial support toward my tuition expenses.  It is through Loyola’s partnership with my employer that I have been awarded substantial support in tuition assistance.  Without Loyola’s alliance with Caterpillar, my pursuit for a higher education would probably have been delayed and more burdensome.”

What is even more wonderful, is the tremendous support and motivation she gets from colleagues and her manager.

“I have received continuous encouragement from my supervising attorney, Liz LeBaron. It helps me to remain focused and driven. In fact, some of the real-world skills I have learned, like project management and public speaking, have been recognized by my employer through a promotion.”

Managing a demanding career, a commanding school schedule and two young boys cannot be an easy task. But Michelle instills in her boys – the same profound faith that helps her connect to Loyola’s Jesuit mission of seeking God in all things. At 15 and 8 years respectively, Jake and Nate have taken on this new phase in their mom’s life displaying a maturity and sense of joy that makes Michelle beam with pride. SCPS Fellows Program

“I lead by example so my boys will also learn and grow from their challenges.  My hope is that they will experience life to the fullest, never using fear to hold them back. I want them to know that there is no right age to pursue your dreams. And their support and excitement does wonders for helping me take one day at a time and accomplish those small victories that lead to the bigger award.”

Michelle’s incredible belief in her faith, combined with the support she received at Loyola and Caterpillar, topped of course by her indomitable spirit and passion, is an inspiration to adults hoping to pursue their degree.

“It is reassuring to know that Loyola’s staff and professors are truly invested in my future and success. Coupled with their unwavering drive, the tuition assistance program, and Caterpillar’s backing – I am able to keep my eye on the prize and realize that I too, will soon have a sense of pride and accomplishment associated with being a graduate.”

SCPS Fellow ProgramWhile Michelle awaits with eager excitement for the day she can don the graduation garb, she is enjoying the ride and learning something new every day. Her enthusiasm and determination makes us proud that she chose Loyola’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies as a route to her dreams!




If you would like to share your story as a current student or alum, please email it to scps@luc.edu.  We would love to hear from you.