Meet the Coaches

Jennifer Vieley

What is your educational background?

  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Illinois State University
  • Master of Education in Community Counseling from Loyola University

What is one struggle you faced as a student?

Navigating the college "system" was hugely overwhelming for me. I was a first-generation college student (the first in my family to attend college) so no one in my household had any idea where to begin. Everything from applying for financial aid, registering for classes, buying books, managing a college course load, and getting connected on campus was outside of my comfort zone. There were times during my first year that I wanted to give up rather than deal with the stress of figuring out how everything worked. Over time, I learned a lot from trial and error (and my fellow students!) but spent much of that first year feeling stressed out and confused rather than enjoying the experience. I wish there had been a coaching program when I was a student to help take the mystery out of navigating that first year of college!

Dakota Horn

What is your educational background?

  • Bachelor of Arts in communication from Western Illinois University
  • Master of Arts in communication from Western Illinois University
  • Pursuing Doctorate of Education in communication education from Illinois State University

What is one struggle you faced as a student?

Asking for help. There are countless resources on a college campus to help with everything you may not be an expert in. I was afraid to ask for help until I had a great experience with a mentor in my second year of school that helped change my perspective on asking for help. It changes your life in college!

Annie McManaman

What is your educational background?

  • Bachelor of Science in Education from University of Nebraska
  • Master of Science in Education from University of Illinois

What is one struggle you have faced as a student?

I believe my greatest struggle during my college years was obtaining balance. I took on too many things. I worked four jobs while attending school. And although I strongly believe in being productive, I believe balance is key. I wish someone would have helped me to see that all aspects of the college experience can prove to be invaluable. I think becoming involved in clubs, organizations, sports or volunteer opportunities on campus will help guide students to become more well rounded. I think these types of experiences open the doors to new relationships, new passions, self fulfillment and true life-long learning. I urge students today to self discipline to maintain balance during their college years paying attention to things like:

  • strong health (nutrition, hydration, sleep, exercise)
  • studies (true focused learning instead of checking things off a list)
  • work (great experience, helps with financial freedoms, possible connections for future career)
  • volunteer opportunities (provides such a sense of self worth oftentimes)
  • clubs, organizations (opens doors to new interests and can provide real life education)
Cecelia Long

What is your educational background?

  • Bachelor of Science in Communication from Illinois State University
  • Master of Science in Communication & Community Development from Illinois State University (Expected graduation: May 2018)

What is one struggle you faced as a student?

While beginning my journey as a community college student, I faced several challenges including isolation, financial insecurity, and familial issues. I was unable to apply or receive financial aid during my first year of college due to absentee parents. I also spent the first month of school eating lunch in my car out of fear of how to make new friends. I found that the only way to change my circumstances and how I felt was to make active and thoughtful decisions towards my future. As many have said before, life is less of what happens to you and more of how YOU choose to react to it. Instead of allowing financial insecurity to discourage me, I worked three jobs and set-up a payment plan in order to stay in school until I was able to identify people who could help me find a more sustainable path. I overcame these obstacles by challenging myself to make connections with people who could help me help myself. As a result, my time at community college was one of the most rewarding and strengthening experiences in life :)

Contact Us

SCB 2400
Email: successconnections@heartland.edu
Phone: 309-268-8055

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