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Dad of three returns to college after 20 years to pursue labor studies degree at IU Northwest

Sept. 11, 2013

Indiana University Northwest opened the books on the 2013-14 academic year Aug. 26, welcoming both new and returning students to its Gary campus.

Kerry Shotwell, IU Northwest student

Kerry Shotwell is returning to college after a 20 year break.  | Photo By IU Northwest

At a recent pre-semester orientation, new students eager to begin a new chapter in their education shared their ambitions and future plans

Kerry Shotwell, 41, of Merrillville, is returning to college after 20 years.

Though he initially began an electrical engineering technician program at Purdue University, Shotwell never finished. Instead, he found a number of other jobs, including a position with the military, before settling at his current position at U.S. Steel, where he has worked for the past nine years.

He said he's excited to come back to school and major in labor studies at IU Northwest.

"I want to eventually take on a position in my union and try to bridge the gap between the company and the union,” Shotwell said. “I can take a position in the union without going to school, but to be more effective, I would like to have that education.”

Though he has a busy family life, with a wife and three children, Shotwell said now is a great time for him to focus on himself and his education.

“I am in a position at work where I am fairly settled and not doing a lot of moving around,” he said.

“I have a son who just graduated from Merrillville High School. I have two daughters, 7 and 8 years old. Now that they are more able to kind of ‘fend for themselves,’ ... this is about the time I can go back.”

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