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June 01, 2009

Curiosity Can Take You Places

South University Newsroom

Heather Schuckmann
Bachelor of Science, Legal Studies
Columbia Campus
Class of 2009

As a young girl growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Heather Schuckmann could often be found in her leisure time reading a book. “My mom was never big on video games, but she constantly encouraged us to read.”

After high school, Heather followed up her curious nature to do and see more of the world and decided to pursue a career in the U.S. Air Force. Her post graduate decision stationed her in Oklahoma where she started work as an air traffic controller.

“I think the lifestyle truly fit my personality. I’ve always been a pretty sharp observer, and I learn best by getting involved and doing. There’s no substitute for the experience and knowledge I gained during my time in the military. Honestly, I’d hoped to make a career of it; I never really thought I’d go to college.”

However, after suffering a back injury, Heather found herself searching for a new direction and career. “When I left my military career, I had to refocus my goals for the future. My mom has always encouraged me, though, that all things in life happen for a reason, and the hurdles are no reason to stop growing and learning.”

At 22, Heather decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies at South University in Columbia, South Carolina. “Going to college straight out of the work world is a big transition. I had been out of school and working for five years and really wasn’t sure how I would fit into the academic world again. The change was one of the biggest challenges in my life, but now I can tell you how extremely glad I am that I’ve done it.”  

Heather graduated from the Legal Studies program with honors, and she is amazed by how much she still loves learning. Her goals are to practice family law some day and to be an advocate for children of divorcing parents.

“At South University, I’ve discovered more possibilities for using my talents in the future. The difference now is that my purpose here is not about passing a class or making a grade. My purpose is to make a difference by showing others what I know works in the world— that’s why I love the practical teaching and learning environment at South. My professors don’t encourage me to try to operate outside of the real world—we learn, as students and professionals, how our experience can affect real life changes in real circumstances.”