For many students, deciding a career path for their future poses a difficult challenge.
Danelle Wagner, a 26-year-old Shippensburg University senior, is one non-traditional student who has gone through the process of selecting not one, but two completely different career paths.
Only three years ago, Wagner was cleaning teeth and wearing scrubs. Today, she is completing an internship working with people as a social worker.
Wagner’s career interests changed drastically in 2012 while taking a trip to New York City.
According to Wagner, she was walking down the sidewalk when an attempted car bomb detonated only 10 feet from her.
If the car bomb had not failed to detonate successfully, the outcome of the bombing would have been much worse. As it was, Wagner was not injured during the incident.
The event, according to her, made her reevaluate her life as it was.
“It made me realize every day is a gift and I thought I could be doing more with my life. I spent the rest of the summer pondering my purpose in life,” Wagner said.
In January of 2011, Wagner enrolled at Shippensburg University and began studying social work. She said through social work, she would really be able to help people.
Returning to school as a non-traditional student posed some difficulties for Wagner.
“It was challenging at first to get connected to everyone since most people already knew each other,” Wagner said.
After taking more classes with the same group of people in her major, she soon found herself with a close-knit group of friends who shared her interest in social work.
Wagner said she was very happy with the overall transition when enrolling at SU. She had previously received her dental assistant training at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) and therefore had credits to transfer.
“Ship worked closely with HACC. It was a smooth transition and they didn’t miss anything,” Wagner said.
Wagner, who will graduate in May 2013, already has hopes and plans for the future. She has been accepted into the social work graduate program. After she receives her master’s degree, Wagner hopes to work with policies and education prevention, known as macro social work.
In the end, Wagner can be viewed as a role model for the many students who may not have decided yet what their future holds for them. Her story shows others that changes can be made at any point during their lives.