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  “These students are self motivated and wonderful to work with,” Mandaville says. “It’s exciting to
see how excited they
are at finishing their degrees. It makes a big difference in folks’ lives.”
Emilee Lovell
Like Tamez, Emilee Lovell always want- ed to graduate from Fresno State. Be- cause of pregnancy complications, she quit in 2009 with about a year left to get her degree. Today, Lovell, 36, lives in Visalia with her husband and three sons. working full-time as a mother and helping with a family business.
   For Chris Tamez – a public works super- visor in Reedley – earning a degree through Reconnect will allow him to move up in his career. “Many of the jobs I’ve wanted had a requirement of a four- year degree, and without it, I couldn’t get to my goals,” says Tamez, a Sanger resi- dent. He graduates in May with a minor
Before learning of the Reconnect program, she looked into de- gree completion programs at other universities, but they would not accept her upper division units. “I would have had to repeat my junior year of college. Fresno State was willing to accept the units I already had and was more flexible,” Lovell says.
Lovell graduates in May, and having a diploma will bring a deep sense of satisfaction.
“I did this for myself
  Chris Tamez
nd to show my kids the importance of having a college education and finishing something.”
in industrial technology, and he plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration.
Tamez, 42, was within a semester of graduating when he left in 2005 to start a full-time job with the City of Reedley that offered health insurance and other benefits. At that time, he was about to get married, and taking the job made sense to Tamez. He always intended to finish his degree but it never worked out. “We had kids. Life happens,” he says. “Now I’ve been given this opportu- nity to finish my degree, and it’s amazing.”
Career wise, I feel comfortable knowing I’ve been able to steadily rise through the ranks in a local municipality. I do however feel more confident now that I have a degree behind my years of experience, should I choose to take on more management responsibilities in the future.
    A C C E S S - The Division of Continuing and Global Education 21

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