Natalia Bautista attended Bowling Green High School. When she graduated, she hadn't given a lot of thought to college. Neither of her parents had graduated high school, so it wasn't something that they spent a lot of time talking about at home.
She found a job at an automotive factory and began to make good money. She started her family and spent four years working at the factory. When they closed in 2002, she found herself trying to support her five children and had difficulty finding another job that would pay as well.
"I was crying every day and was forced to apply for public assistance. What is worse, I didn't see a turning point in my future," said Bautista.
At the urging of a friend, she decided to enroll at Owens Community College in the fall of 2003.
"When I began at Owens, I was searching my car seats for change to buy gas money so I could drive my kids to school," said Bautista.
Through the work study program, she got a job in the Enrollment Services Department at Owens and was able to make ends meet. She worked there for three years as a student worker and part-time employee while she was attending school.
She discovered that one of the best things about Owens was she could take core classes in a variety of fields right away. She used this to her advantage and learned more about the radiography and accounting programs.
Through her customer service role in Enrollment Services, she discovered that she spoke well in public and decided to study communications and supervision.
After graduation in May 2007, she continued to work at Owens while looking for the perfect job. She found it at PENTA Career Center.
She helps students enroll in online classes, works with other secretaries on a variety of jobs and helps teachers with special projects.
"Owens gave me the confidence to believe I was capable of doing any job," said Bautista.
Her oldest daughter will graduate high school this spring. Bautista makes sure they talk about college and career options regularly and her daughter is narrowing down her final decision - Owens is on that list.