Stephanie (Merwin) Brown

I chose Southwest Tech because I had nothing else. I became pregnant my senior year of high school. I was scared to death of it ruining my life so I never told anyone I was pregnant. My plan was to move to LaCrosse to attend Western Technical College and have the baby without anyone knowing and then give the baby up for adoption. I was able to carry out the first part of the plan. I had the baby alone in LaCrosse, but I wasn’t able to give her up. My very supportive family moved me home and I got a job working at a local gas station. My aunt, who worked in the daycare at Southwest Tech was very compassionate and suggested I give Southwest Tech a shot.

I can’t imagine where I would be without Southwest Tech. I am guessing I would still be unhappy, working in that gas station unable to even live paycheck to paycheck. I was struggling to pay my rent and buy diapers for my daughter when I started college and never would have made it at any other college. Southwest Tech went the extra mile for me. I graduated high school 67th out of 71 students and had a GPA of 1.42. You could say I was lacking motivation and had no confidence in my academic ability. It was easier to make a joke of my grades then try to pull myself up from the bottom of my class. I even struggled my first semesters at Southwest Tech. I withdrew or failed my classes my first two semesters and was told I would no longer receive financial aid. It scared me to death to think I would have to live the way I was living for the rest of my life. I was given another chance by financial aid and with the help of the ladies in the ASC I made the Dean’s list the next semester. My success at Southwest Tech gave me the confidence to continue my education and pursue a Bachelor’s degree. In high school, I never imagined I would ever be able to get a bachelor’s degree. I learned that high school does not define who you are or who you can become. My experiences and success that I have and continue to have at Southwest Tech are all reasons why my daughter is now a student here pursuing Nursing. I can remember telling her, “we went to school together when I was getting my degree and we can go to school together while you get yours.” It’s a pleasure to be back here with her. Keeping her and going to Southwest Tech were some of the best decisions I have made in my life!