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Alum Victoria Colyer Gets Life-Changing Foundation at Mercer


West Windsor, N.J. - For Victoria Harmor Colyer '08 (A.S., Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement), earning her degree from Mercer County Community College has provided an educational foundation and a sense of self-confidence that will last a lifetime.

A single mother, Colyer was working as an administrative assistant at Family & Children's Services of Central New Jersey when she was encouraged by fellow staff members to further her education. "Because I only had my GED and did not take the SAT, I thought I was not able to go to college. I am happy that was not the case," she says.

Colyer chose Mercer because it was close to home and offered the flexible schedule she needed to balance college with her other responsibilities. "This helped out a lot since I was a single mom," Colyer said. Fueled by the desire to help people in need, she enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program with the goal of becoming a state trooper. "The coursework was exciting; I had great teachers."

Victoria Colyer

Colyer also found a nurturing environment that made a major difference in her life. She attended leadership conferences and was active in the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), a program that provides support to students from educationally and financially disadvantaged backgrounds. She singles out Dr. Khalidda Haqq, who directs Programs for Academic Services and Success (PASS) and EOF, and Communication Professor Alvyn Haywood as two individuals who were central to her growth.
"I could go to Dr. Haqq whenever a problem arose at school or at home," Colyer says. "Professor Haywood's public speaking class really helped boost my confidence when it came to presenting my thoughts and ideas. Now I have no fear of giving a presentation at work or anywhere the need arises."

She notes there are no words to adequately describe her Mercer experience. "I made great friends with students, advisors, mentors and teachers. Being in the EOF Club taught me time management skills and gave me someone to turn to any time of the day."

Colyer proved a solid student. She was named to the President's List and was selected for Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges.

One of Colyer's fondest memories is participating in Women Take Flight®, a confidence-building weekend workshop for a select group of women who took flight instruction at Trenton-Mercer Airport. "It was a wonderful experience," Colyer said. "I got to lift off and land a Cessna. I even earned a credit toward my coursework."

During her time at MCCC, Colyer did a bit of soul searching, ultimately ruling out a career as a state trooper. Acknowledging the potential dangers of patrol duty, she decided that her daughter needed her more.

She began to investigate other ways she could serve the community, working in administrative jobs for an elder care facility, computer firm, law firm and publishing company.

Returning to her roots in Pennsylvania in 2009, Colyer presently works at Skills of Central Pennsylvania in State College, Pa., providing administrative and public relations support for a non-profit agency that serves the needs of individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

"I love what I am doing because I've always wanted to change someone's life for the better," Colyer said. She is now pursuing employment as a caseworker for her local Family Children & Youth Services, which will allow her to continue to focus on helping others.

All the while, Colyer says she has drawn on the preparation she received at Mercer. "Those who say that they can't do something are interrupting those who are doing it," she maintains. "I truly believe there is no reason to give up just because you hit a bump in the road!"

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