Class of 2016 Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies
For Janice Soulas, her Peirce journey began in 1987, when her employer encouraged her to go back to school for her associate degree in Paralegal Studies and offered to pay for it. “I didn’t know where to start looking,” she says. “My dad suggested that I look into Peirce, because he had taken a certificate course there and had a good experience.”
Janice followed her father’s advice and enrolled in some initial courses at Peirce. Although she enjoyed what she was learning, life got in the way. “I felt like I needed to spread my wings. I was more interested in learning from the college of life,” she explains, “so I chose to move from Pennsylvania to California, which was really exciting.”
Some years went by, and when Janice returned to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, her employer again encouraged her to go back to school, this time to finish her degree. But, just as she was completing another course, life threw her for another loop. Janice found out she was expecting, so she put school on hold once again to focus on raising her children.
"Peirce is encouragement, and encouragement has been the key to my future"
In 2009, the company Janice had been working at for years got bought out by a new owner, Dow Chemical Company. This new company was very college-driven, and this encouraged her to start considering going back to school again, “I felt as if it was like, ‘She has a degree in this, he has a degree in that and then there’s Janice.’” She wanted to finally gain that level of respect and sense of purpose she had always been longing for.
Now, over seven years later, and 30 years after she first stepped through Peirce College’s “arch of opportunity” at 1420 Pine Street, Janice is a college graduate! In June of 2016, Janice proudly walked across stage to receive her associate degree in Paralegal Studies. “I still pinch myself when I think about being a college graduate. It’s hard to believe!” she says.
Everything Changed After Graduation
Janice’s new degree opened many doors of opportunity for her. She always felt as if she was stuck at the same level, never even being considered for advancement. As soon as she got her associate, everything changed. She immediately advanced and was finally given a title she deserved, “Administrative Specialist for Intellectual Property Law at The Dow Chemical Company.” Peirce gave her the step ahead she had dreamed of. “Peirce allowed for me to get ahead, especially with its specific program for Paralegal Studies. Some of my co-workers have associate’s degrees, but not specifically in Paralegal Studies,” she explains. “Peirce’s specific program gave me that advantage!”
As Janice reflects on this tremendous accomplishment, she is grateful to all the people who supported her along the way: all of the employers who encouraged her; her professors and support team at Peirce College; and especially her family, who always believed in her, for helping her make it happen.
“Peirce is encouragement, and encouragement has been the key to my future. Advisors, Financial Aid Specialists, Security, every aspect of Peirce was what I needed in a college.”
No one should have to undertake the challenge of going back to school all by themselves, and Janice is glad she didn’t have to. The results speak for themselves. “Thanks to my support system and Peirce College, I am so proud to FINALLY be a college graduate!”