Lisa Marie Mescher-Schlueter

Close to home: Start2Finish

Action item box: The fifth annual Start2Finish 5K Run-Walk will be at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 21, on the JCCC campus. Proceeds exceeding the cost of the run support scholarships for JCCC students who continue their education at KU Edwards. Register online for $22 until July 20. 

As a mother of two active boys, Lisa Marie Mescher-Schlueter wanted to ease into the whole “back-to-school” process. That’s why Start2Finish appealed to her. 

“Being a non-traditional student, I thought JCCC might be a better place to start – I was assuming the overall class size at JCCC would probably be a little smaller than KU [the University of Kansas] and thought it might be a little easier to acclimate.” 

Start2Finish is an educational partnership between JCCC and the University of Kansas Edwards Campus. Students benefit by starting at JCCC and then finishing their bachelors’ degrees just two miles south of JCCC at the Edwards Campus.

Mescher-Schlueter plans to graduate in May 2013 from KU Edwards Campus with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration and a minor in business. 

“I really was not interested in driving to Lawrence every day or taking the bus, so this worked out extremely well for me considering I live in Johnson County,” she said. “Plus, I have two children that I drop off at school and pick up, so I scheduled my classes around their school day. I also need to be available to care for them or work out a schedule with my husband when the boys don't have school or if they get sick.” 

Mescher-Schlueter knew she wanted to finish her degree at KU, so she met with an adviser there first and discussed how Start2Finish could benefit her current lifestyle. Dan Mueller, KU adviser, recommended that Mescher-Schlueter take some classes at JCCC that would transfer to KU. Mueller takes great strides to make sure his advisees are on track and are taking the necessary courses to fulfill the requirements for their degrees as well as making sure students are not taking unnecessary courses. 

“He has been extremely helpful, and I meet with him every semester, whether he wants to or not,” she jokes. “He is awesome – he is very quick to respond, flexible in meeting around my schedule, and very helpful.” 

Math is not necessarily Mescher-Schlueter’s forte. Since it had been awhile since she had taken a math class, she decided to take Intermediate Algebra instead of jumping head first into College Algebra. Pamela Hamler, adjunct professor, mathematics, added confidence to Mescher-Schlueter’s attitudes about math and subtracted anxiety. 

“I have never liked math before,” Mescher-Schlueter said. “In fact, I would say I hated math, but I must admit, by the end of that semester I actually enjoyed the class. I never thought I would say that about algebra. She made it seem so easy. I think what you get out of a class is, in part, a direct reflection on the professor, but as a student you also need to put in the effort and, of course, attend class.” 

The most interesting classes for Mescher-Schlueter have been public administration classes (Conducting People in Business Ethically, Topics in Public Administration: Training and Staff Development, Hard Choices in Public Administration, and Managing People in Public Organizations). She’s looking forward to using the information she’s gleaning in these areas, and she benefits from the subjects that are relatable to real-life experiences. 

“Some of the topics discussed are ‘hot topic’ issues where you need to listen to and respect differences in opinion such as abortion, ‘don't ask/don't tell,’ ethics issues and guerrilla government,” she said. 

For Mescher-Schlueter, Start2Finish is working exceptionally well and she has made friends in some of her classes. She has plans to work for either the state or federal government and is particularly interested in childcare laws and regulations. 

“With the online transfer form on KU’s website, it is pretty easy to figure out which classes at JCCC will transfer to KU and which will fulfill the necessary requirements.” she said. “The majority of my classes I have enrolled in at KU have been held at the Edwards Campus. For a Johnson County resident, it is very convenient.” 

Mescher-Schlueter said she really likes that both campuses are so close in proximity. They’re also conveniently located, with easy access and no long commute. Class sizes are small and the professors are easily accessible and respond quickly to questions or email, Mescher-Schlueter said. She also respects the reputations both schools have earned. 

“I have also heard, and now I’ve experienced, that JCCC is one of the best community colleges in the country. Reputation is also important to me as well as getting a quality education,” she said. “Everyone’s situation is different, but I have had a great experience.”