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ECC employees speak of their inspiring women

As Elgin Community College celebrates Women's History Month in March, we asked some employees to name the women who inspired them.

Angela Ogburn

Angela Ogburn, Wellness Professional

The woman who inspired me the most growing up was my mother. She's a rock - solid in her truth and those she loves. Throughout my childhood, I watched her be a caretaker to an ailing family member, a college student, a devoted employee, a pianist and Bible-study teacher at our church, and an amazing mother to me and my brother.

The woman knows how to juggle life, and she approaches everything she does with courage and a gentle strength. She's always loved and supported me no matter what. She's the reason I am who I am today!

Morgan Vogt

Morgan Vogt, Communications Administrative Assistant

The woman who inspired me the most growing up was author Madeleine L'Engle (she wrote A Wrinkle in Time, among many books). She was the first successful female science fiction writer, as well as an amazing young adult author. What I loved about her was that she always asked the tough questions, even in her young adult books, and she really got me thinking about the world around me and the world inside myself. Her books made me question and think and ultimately, made me the person I am today. And of course, she also instilled in me a deep love of all things sci-fi.

Dr David Sam

David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM, Elgin Community College President

My mom. She had a very basic education, but she knew the value of education. And she stayed on my case to study. Because of her, I am a lifelong learner. I attribute my success to the educational values that she expressed.

Jorge Phillips

Jorge Phillips, Director of Continuing and Community Education

A woman who continually inspires me is Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. I admire the audacity she exhibited during her tumultuous “fairy tale” royal marriage while blossoming from “shy Di” to determined humanitarian. I am most impressed that Diana challenged the existing aristocratic norms, growing more self-assured and becoming a role model to those in similar albeit far less privileged circumstances. 

Whenever I experience difficulty deciding on a course of action, I refer to a picture I have of Diana from a calendar issued shortly after her sudden passing. She is holding a bouquet of white roses and looking directly at me. I am reminded of her saying:  “Only do what your heart tells you.”

Jennifer Strohl

Jennifer Strohl, Manager of Alumni, Affinity Group and Stewardship

Without sounding too corny, the woman who inspired me most is actually my mom. She married young, dropped out of college when she had me, and became a single mother at 21 during a time when that was not as common or socially acceptable as it is today. She has conquered financial hardships and worked up to three jobs at times to support us.

She continues to face life's most challenging moments head on with tremendous inner strength and she perseveres. She has an unwavering commitment to keeping our family moving forward, particularly through education. I always received encouragement and support from her to explore and pursue my own path in all aspects life including what I studied or where I chose to live. She absolutely inspires me to work hard, to be open-minded, to help others, and to be thankful for the many opportunities in my life.

Amybeth Maurer

Amybeth Maurer, Director of Orientation and Student Life

I am inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, she was such a strong, brave woman who valued tenderness and kindness. I admire the balance she lived in her life and the influence she has had on women, politics, and contribution.  

My favorite quotation of hers is, “Since you get more joy out of the giving to others, and should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.” In my own life, I'm most joyful when I help others and see their potential grow. Working with students, I'm blessed to witness this on a regular basis and it is extremely fulfilling. 


John Mravik, English Instructor

You can call me mama's boy all you want, but it won't change the fact that the woman who inspires me most is my mother. My mom is truly a superhero.

During the summer of 1998, my mom was both going to school full-time and working full-time. When I had my accident later that summer, she somehow managed to continue that heavy load even while living with me in the hospital - also full-time.

She is without question one of the most hard-working, loving, and selfless individuals you'd ever want to meet. She continues to inspire me every day with her incredible work ethic, devotion to the family, and hilarious sense of humor. I am lucky to be my mama's boy.

Oh, by the way, she graduated with a 3.9 cumulative GPA.

Ryan Klassy

Ryan Klassy, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist

The woman who has inspired me the most is my mom, Ruth Klassy. She always worked full-time in addition to raising three kids and she never, and I mean never, missed a wrestling meet, basketball tournament or any school event we were a part of.

She sticks up for her kids with a passion that I know influences the way I take care of my own little girl. She has always been involved in the community, from serving on the school board when I was a kid to her involvement in political campaigns in the last decade. My mom has always helped me see the bright side of things. She sets an example of doing things well.

Actually, I can see my mom's influence in nearly all of the good aspects of my personality, and I'm very grateful for it. 


Related Link: Women's History Month

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