Bette A. Feldeisen, a plumbing supervisor and honors graduate, and Joshua John Young, a police officer and Army veteran, today were named ACE's 2012 Adult Learners of the Year.
The Adult Learner of the Year Award is presented annually by ACE to an individual who has benefitted academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce or military training.
Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievements in their community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career and education. ACE's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) and Military Programs evaluate employers' workplace learning and training programs and military courses and occupations and recommend college credit when that learning is college-level and appropriate to the student's field of study.
Each recipient will receive a $500 scholarship to help continue their education.
"It is a testament to the ever-increasing space on the higher education landscape occupied by adult learners that ACE received a large number of worthy nominations for this year's award, and that it proved too difficult to choose between Bette and Joshua for the honor," said Patricia A. Book, ACE assistant vice president for education attainment and innovation. "Both of this year's honorees highlight the ability that so many adult learners possess to overcome multiple challenges and barriers to gaining a degree while balancing career and family obligations—and serve as inspirational examples to other lifelong learners."
Feldeisen, a plumbing supervisor for the state of New Jersey, graduated with honors from Gloucester County College (NJ) in December 2010, and plans to earn a bachelor's degree at Thomas Edison State College (NJ). She became an apprentice plumber after automation displaced her from the printing industry. But when Feldeisen lost her plumbing job in 2008 due to the recession, she enrolled in college through NJ PLACE—New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education. Through a statewide agreement, NJ PLACE allowed her to use ACE credit recommendations gained from her apprenticeship to help earn an AAS in Technical Studies at Gloucester, after which she was hired for her current position.
"ACE CREDIT played a major role in helping me achieve my degree and making the dean's list in the process," Feldeisen said. "I can't overemphasize how important the ability to successfully pursue higher education has been to me and my family, and I am looking forward to continuing that journey."
Young, an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department whose Army service has included combat deployments in Somalia and Iraq, completed his degree in police science at St. Mary's University of Minnesota in December while maintaining a 3.92 GPA. He has worked toward his degree for 13 years, even as he became a father last year, worked full-time as a police officer and was deployed to Iraq for a year-long combat mission as a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard. Young returned home and to school in 2010.
"Balancing my commitment to my country, family and community and lifelong learning hasn't always been easy, but it has always been rewarding," Young said. "The credits I was able to earn through ACE recommendations are a big reason I stayed on course and earned my degree."
ACE CREDIT connects workplace learning and higher education by helping adults gain academic credit for courses and exams taken outside traditional degree programs. ACE's Military Programs provides a critical link between higher education and the U.S. Department of Defense, with many of our nation's military members gaining access to higher education as a direct result of this partnership.
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