Beatriz Steen's educational journey began at Owens Community College with a simple suggestion from a caring individual. In preparation for her G.E.D. test, Beatriz wrote an essay about her desire to obtain a college degree. The facilitator of the session read her essay and took her aside. She explained to Beatriz that she did not have to wait for her G.E.D. to begin college. She could start right away at Owens Community College.
"I enrolled at Owens after realizing that it is difficult to find a job when you are a single mother without a high school diploma," Beatriz remembers. "My 9-year-old daughter, Isabel, was my driving force," she said. "I knew I needed a better education to make a brighter future for both of us."
Beatriz enrolled in Owens' School of Business majoring in Office Administration Technology. She obtained her G.E.D. and after attending classes for three years on both the Toledo-area and Findlay-area Campus, she graduated with honors.
Nominated by Dr. Rose Kuceyeski, Beatriz was chosen as the Fall 2006 Commencement Student Speaker. She addressed her fellow graduates during the December 2006 ceremony focusing on her personal success story, as well as five useful life lessons for Owens graduates illustrated by the journey of Dorothy Gales in "The Wizard of Oz."
"Set goals and follow through with them," she stated. "Dorothy knew she needed to meet with The Wizard of Oz who lived in the Emerald City to be able to return to Kansas. Wonderful opportunities lie before us. Set a goal for yourself and don't stop reaching for it."
Beatriz has done just that. She set the goal to obtain a higher education and did not stop reaching until the diploma was in hand. She credits the educational success she has achieved to her supportive family, friends and Owens faculty and staff. "The encouragement of faculty, family and friends gave me strength and courage of self to keep following my path."
She acknowledges professors like Darla Johannsen and Jim Arbogast, who challenged her to excel beyond her expectations. "They prompted me to work harder," Beatriz recalls. "When I received A's in their classes, I knew it was an A well earned."
An honors student at Owens, Beatriz describes herself as a dedicated, loyal and easy-going individual. Her favorite hobbies include reading, spending time with family and traveling. She also enjoys volunteering. At Owens alone, she volunteered over 60 hours for Enrollment Services and assisted with the SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) competitive trip to Kansas City.
A resident of Findlay, she is an active member of her church and spends a portion of her time singing in a number of choirs. In addition, she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Kappa Beta Delta and Chi Alpha Epsilon honor societies.
Though nothing can compare with the pride Beatriz feels as a mother, earning her associate's degree is a close second. "A degree from Owens Community College affirms my search for knowledge," she explains. "It distinguishes me from other graduates because Owens mission is student success. I earned my degree, I created my success."