When sonography grad Tasha Miller thought she’d have to choose between work and staying in school LCCC’s faculty and staff stepped in to help
Tasha Miller has always wanted to make her grandfather proud and this May she knows she is. The 2022 Lorain County Community College graduate says her grandfather, who passed away last year, provided her greatest motivation to not only enroll in college, but overcome great barriers to finish.
“My grandfather wanted me to be independent and not rely on a man or anyone to take care of me,” Miller says. “He wanted me to have a good life and to have a career that I enjoyed.”
That career will be in diagnostic medical sonography. Miller is earning her associate of applied science degree in the field and says she chose the program, in part, because of demand.
“Sonography is in high demand, and it pays well,” Miller says. “It’s also something I feel prideful in doing because it’s a career helping people.”
Miller, who lives in Elyria, describes herself as a people-person who’s driven to help others. But while working toward her degree, Miller was the one in need of help.
“My father is diabetic and ended up becoming quite sick,” Miller says. “My brother and I were really struggling to take care of him while he was at home.”
The care her father needed was constant. Miller and her brother found themselves providing him with most every basic need. And in doing so, the siblings made great sacrifices.
“My brother was pretty much taking full-time care of my father,” she says. “He was unable to have a job or start college because he was spending so much time taking care of him.”
And Miller was barely staying in college.
“I lived alone and had to work my way through school,” she says. “It was very challenging.”
Miller might have been living alone, but on LCCC’s campus she was anything but alone. She says two faculty members – clinical instructor Michelle Yuhasz and professor Craig Peneff – knew she was on her own and working while enrolled, and they asked her how she was coping with that reality, along with her father’s health issues. Miller was honest with them about how close she was to dropping out.
“They both knew I was struggling financially and I probably would have had to drop out to be able to have more time to work and pay my bills,” Miller says.
Miller was spending nearly 40 hours each week between clinicals and classes, leaving little time to earn a living. Both Yuhansz and Peneff referred Miller to LCCC’s Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC), which helps students access food, financial, and other resources and support. Miller received emergency financial aid from the ARC so she didn’t have to choose between paying her tuition or paying her bills.
“The extra financial support the ARC gave me truly is the reason I was able to stay in school and I will always be so grateful for that,” Miller says.
But Yuhasz’s support didn’t end with the ARC referral. She worked with Miller to find the right care for her father so she could focus on the demands of the sonography program.
“Michelle got involved and provided me with the resources I needed to get him the care he deserved,” Miller says. “It really helped me that she cared enough to push me to start the process because my dad needed a higher level of care than me or my brother could provide him.”
With Yuhasz’s guidance throughout the process, Miller moved her father into a nursing home and says he’s doing much better today.
“I try to visit him every weekend if I can," Miller says. “He’s in good spirits though and doing much better than before he went into the nursing home.”
Knowing his daughter is graduating – and making her grandfather proud – probably helps keep those spirits high. His daughter has grit and determination and that’s what brought her to finish line. But she also credits LCCC’s culture of care for helping her get there.
“This college is amazing and I am so grateful to have been able to attend school here,” Miller says. “The staff here truly care about their students and want them to succeed.”
“This college is amazing and I am so grateful to have been able to attend school here.”