STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford’s Andrea Pagani enjoys people. And her classmates in the University of Bridgeport ’s IDEAL program give her a well-rounded cross section with whom she can interact.
“It’s interesting,’’ said Pagani, who started attending classes at the university’s Stamford location in January. “I’m a person who gets along with people pretty easily. What’s nice at school is you get a lot of different ideas and perspectives. It starts some really good debates in class. There are a lot of different points of view.”
Pagani, 30, graduated from Westhill High School in Stamford in 2001. She currently works in the radiology department at Stamford Hospital, and became interested in UB’s IDEAL program through friends. “They were able to attend classes at night, and they were getting their degrees in a relatively short period of time,’’ Pagani said. “They recommended it to me. It’s a lot of work, but I’ve been pleased so far.”
Besides the students, Pagani also enjoys the instructors. She is pursuing a major in general studies with a social science concentration.
“I like that I’m learning from someone who works in the field,’’ Pagani said. “They have real experience. All the classes have been small; it’s a real, intimate setting. You can trust the instructors. I went to two other schools, but Bridgeport has been one of my better experiences. I get excited about going to class.”
After high school, Pagani earned her medical assistant certificate and attended community colleges. When she graduated from high school, she needed to help her family and could not obtain the financing to attend college.
She knew it was time to return to school when she was denied a promotion because she lacked a degree, despite having the skills and the experience she needed to earn the job. She was also inspired by her parents.
“I’ve seen my parents work, work, work,’’ said Pagani, whose parents emigrated from Costa Rica. “That’s all they know how to do. I don’t want to have to work as hard as them. I want to work, but I don’t want to break my back doing it for the rest of my life. I’d like to enjoy it.”
It’s still going to take Pagani some time. She believes she’ll finish her program in 2015, and she’s even considering pursuing a master’s degree afterwards. She works full-time, attends evening classes and knocks out homework assignments on weekends. “Weekends,” she said, “are all about school.”
It may have taken Pagani a bit longer to find her educational path, but she feels she’s on the right track with the University of Bridgeport and IDEAL.
“I didn’t feel the intimacy at other schools that I have here,’’ she said. “The professors take time out of their lives to help me out. They are so accessible. I appreciate that. For them to make it a little easier for me makes it rewarding and I know it’s going to pay off in the end.”