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Alia Schleppenbach


Growing up, I was 1 of 15 children. My mother was blind and took care of the kids while my dad worked full time. We attended a private school that expected a lot out of us. It was difficult for me to focus on my education due to my depression as a result of emotional and physical trauma. I was overwhelmed when I was diagnosed with a degenerative muscular disease and started homeschooling to focus on my health. The isolation of staying at home was not good for my mental health and after months of homeschooling, I realized I wanted more for myself and my education. I looked for a school that would support my goals, despite only having a 9th grade education. The Excel Center was a perfect fit for me.


I instantly connected with several of my teachers and life coaches.They supported me and pushed me to focus on one thing at a time. I learned to enjoy going to school instead of dreading it. The Excel Center made school feel like fun rather than a race to finish on time like the private school I attended previously. They were flexible and had so many diverse people and backgrounds I had never seen before and it definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone. I earned 44 credits in nine months and graduated with a 4.03 GPA. 


While attending the Excel Center, my mom passed away from lung cancer. Even though she didn't survive, watching her fight to try to recover made me look at medicine differently. Not only that, my mother even told me I would do amazing in healthcare someday. So I listened to her and sought a career in exactly that.


The past 2 years I have worked as a Patient Care Technician at a local hospital. While I enjoyed my job, I knew I always wanted to work as a pharmacy technician. I connected with my Goodwill Guide in March 2020 to discuss what options I have to get my pharmacy technician certification. As an Excel Center graduate, she connected me to a class and helped cover all the associated costs. With COVID-19 and the shift to virtual learning, she connected me to a class that met online and worked with my schedule. I recently passed my pharmacy technician class with a 102% and perfect attendance. I passed my national exam and I am in the process of transferring to the in patient pharmacy at my work.


Since my Guide is there to support me long term, she is going to help me reach my goal to attend Purdue’s pharmacy school. She will also help me with financial coaching. I am so thankful for the opportunities available to me due to the Excel Center and Goodwill Guides!

Alia Schleppenbach
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