Featured IMPACT Story
Sharing the stories of Saint Xavier University students, alumni, faculty/staff and friends.
The Saint Xavier Experience: Pamela and Jose’s Story
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” This scripture passage from Colossians 3:23 is a source of daily inspiration for Pamela Schwer, associate professor and chair of the Graham School of Management’s Accounting Department, especially when it comes to how she teaches her students.
Schwer mentors her students to be the best at what they do and challenges them to reach their full potential. “One of the keys to keeping my students engaged is by relating accounting principles to a variety of real world situations,” Schwer says. “My goal is for students to understand how accounting is a useful tool for any field of work. For my accounting majors, I teach them to become skilled and ethical decision makers.”
Like many of the students she teaches at Saint Xavier University, Schwer was a first-generation college graduate. She understands that graduating from college means more than simply earning a degree – it is a transformational opportunity. “For many of my students, an education is their ticket to make their life better, and I am teaching them the skills needed to change their life,” Schwer says. “I am helping write those tickets!”
One of those tickets belongs to Jose Silva, a junior finance major from the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. When Jose thinks about what his Saint Xavier education will make possible for him, he simply states, “A whole new lifestyle.”
Jose always knew he wanted to attend college. “I have been working towards this goal for a long time,” Jose shares. “I am the first person in my entire family to attend college and I want to be a positive influence to my other family members.” Plus, Jose realized a college education would allow him to help his family achieve financial stability for the future. Beyond providing for his family, though, Jose feels he is also “representing [his] high school peers, of which only around 13 percent go to college.”
Jose knew Saint Xavier would be the perfect fit for him. “What really made the decision for me to attend SXU was the student-to-faculty ratio. There is no anonymity at Saint Xavier University. The professors here really work with you and help you,” Jose says. “In fact, the classes I took with Professor Schwer are among my favorites. She is an excellent teacher and an expert in her field. She did everything step-by-step when needed, and was open to any and all questions. I really was actively engaged in her class. I feel prepared to seek and obtain an internship and, later, a full-time job in the field of finance or accounting because of Professor Schwer and the other professors at SXU.”
As individuals, our experiences influence our actions. Pamela Schwer draws upon her experience as a first-generation student to inspire her students to pursue their goals and think critically about the world around them. Jose Silva, motivated to be the first in his family to earn a college degree, is making the most of the educational experience offered to him at the University. When you combine the two, the impact is something special. We call it the Saint Xavier experience.
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