Kimberly Chilton ’17 can attest to the transformative power of a college education. The Stewartsville, Missouri native spent 10 years working on her nursing degree, even though it meant some very lean years for her and her family. But now, between her job at the Cameron Regional Medical Center and her husband’s recent promotion, the family is earning more than four times the amount they were earning when she was a student.

Kimberly said because of the time required for clinicals and studying as a nursing student, holding down a job would have meant never seeing her husband or three sons. So the family, living on one income, depended on food stamps and Medicaid “as a stepping stone” until she earned her degree. Cars that broke down, gas, nursing supplies and book costs added to the financial pressures.

But Kimberly said scholarships from the MWSU Foundation helped her persist to her degree. “Scholarships helped me keep going and get through. I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. “I knew I had to get my degree to get off assistance.”

At one point, Kimberly didn’t have enough money for a good pair of shoes to wear for clinicals, and the Supplemental Education Fund of the MWSU Ambassadors came through to pay for the shoes. “By the time they wore out, I was ready to graduate.”

When she graduated, she insisted that her party theme be WE did it. “This was not a one-person adventure,” Kimberly said with a laugh.

“My goal was to never give up or quit for good,” Kimberly said. “I wanted to provide a life and a future for my kids. They needed to see that anything is possible and that I didn’t give up.”