Paralegal grad proves its ‘never too late’ to pursue dream job

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Williams with her two daughters at NWTC Shawano
Williams with her two daughters at NWTC Shawano

Stephanie Williams of Shawano was working in what she calls “more or less, a dead-end job” when she decided it was time for a change – for herself and her kids. The single mom of two wanted to be happy in her career and to support her family without help.

“I always wanted to be a paralegal,” Williams said. “So I thought to myself, ‘I am going to do it and show my kids that I can, and that it is never too late to go back to school.’”

Williams enrolled in NWTC’s Legal Studies/Paralegal associate degree program. Like many NWTC students, she juggled college, work, and family.

Receiving a scholarship through the NWTC Educational Foundation helped Williams focus on her studies. “It took some stress off my plate when it came to me thinking about how I was going to keep affording school,” she said. “My scholarship helped me continue my dreams and goals. I am very grateful.”

Another motivating factor for Williams was the support she received from NWTC staff and faculty. While a student, she was employed as a work study in the main office at NWTC Shawano. There, she felt like family. “They were always at my side, cheering me on,” she said.

When Williams’ daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, NWTC staff stepped up. They sent cards and messages of encouragement. Her supervisor offered additional work flexibility so Williams could manage doctor appointments and caregiving. Another staff member, whose own child has diabetes, served as a great resource for Williams as she navigated through her daughter’s diagnosis and care.

One more example of NWTC’s support: A Shawano center staff member connected Williams to a local attorney who visited the center as a guest speaker. That connection turned into an internship, which then turned into Williams’ current, full-time career.

“It all just shows how NWTC staff get involved and support our students every step of the way,” said Jeannie Otto, NWTC Shawano manager.

Williams with NWTC Staff member at NWTC Shawano Regional Center Williams with NWTC Staff member on computer

Graduating with an associate degree in May 2022, Williams is relishing her paralegal role at Heritage Law Firm LLC, Shawano. She works with estate planning attorneys. She schedules appointments, drafts wills and deeds, and works on probates. Every day is filled with a variety of responsibilities, and Williams wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I currently really enjoy my job. I am always still learning,” Williams said. “I have the best boss and supervisors anyone could ever ask for. My days keep me busy, and I really enjoy that.” 

As she looks to the future, Williams plans to continue learning and growing with the Shawano law firm – and showing her children that anything is possible. 

“I hope my kids see how hard I worked, and it gives them the ambition to continue their education when they graduate high school,” Williams said.

Change Lives. Strengthen Your Community. 

You have the power to make college possible for motivated, hardworking NWTC students like Williams. You can help students persist and become graduates who will help your businesses and community thrive. 

The NWTC Foundation is leading a campaign to raise scholarship funds for new and current NWTC students who live in the Shawano area.

Give to the Making College Possible Scholarship Endowment - Greater Shawano Area
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