Family ties help CityU graduates succeed

Tracee and Brent Stubrud in graduation caps

Brent Stubrud hadn’t planned to walk in the June 2016 commencement ceremony, but as he stood in the bustling crowd of people exchanging congratulatory hugs and shouting their best wishes, he was glad he did. Especially because he got to share the experience with a fellow graduate who’d persuaded him to attend: his mom, Tracee Stubrud.

“Graduation was exciting,” Brent said. “Interacting with other coworkers who were in the same program at Boeing with me was helpful – we are a community – so it was fun to see them at graduation.”

“We had a big party after the ceremony,” Tracee said. “Friends, family and neighbors came over to our house to celebrate. Everyone knew how hard we studied; it was a very fun day.”

Better together

Tracee and Brent by Space NeedleNot only did Tracee and Brent graduate together, but the duo earned the same Bachelor of Arts in Management degree at the same time.

“It was nice to have something in common that we could communicate about,” Tracee said. “He and I were able to support each other.”

“It was pretty cool to be in school with my mom,” Brent said. “Everyone always kind of laughed and said ‘oh, that’s awesome.’ It was motivating to be there with her, she kind of pushed me through it.”

Not only did Tracee help motivate her son while they were in school, she encouraged him to get started.

“I’d started a degree at another university, but the finances and drive made it hard to swing,” Brent said. “It was about six years later that I went to CityU to finish. My mom inspired me by taking the first step to contact an advisor.”

“Working in HR, I assisted other employees signing up for this program and thought, ‘Why not me?’”  Tracee said. “We were both pretty close to the number of credits we needed to transfer, so we met with our advisor, Kathy Herdeck, at the same time.”

“Kathy was a great help, Brent said. “She helped me know what courses to take next, and helped me understand the requirements needed to complete the degree.”

While being a full-time student and full-time employee can be daunting, Brent and Tracee were able to balance both sets of responsibilities with the support of their friends and family.

“It’s definitely challenging to get back in the groove of doing spreadsheets and writing papers,” Brent said. “Going through the program with my mom, it was nice to be able to bounce ideas off of each other.”

“It was difficult, but this program was manageable if you were able to spend your time wisely,” Tracee said. “The online learning was a challenge for me, but I am always up for a challenge. I earned a HR certificate three years ago, and it made me hungry to further my education.”

Looking ahead

Tracee and Brent in caps and gownsNow that they’ve finished their program, the future is looking bright for Brent and Tracee.

“Since I’ve gotten the degree, it’s opened up new pathways for me,” Brent said. “To make the move to management, you need a bachelor’s degree. I’ve looked at moving into a lead role. My ultimate goal is to be a manager within the supply chain community at Boeing.”

“My goal was to see my son get his degree, and my lifelong goal was to get my degree,” Tracee said. “Getting my degree was put on hold with my earlier career and raising two boys. Now, if an opportunity arises here, I’ll be able to take advantage of it, which I wasn’t able to do before.”

Looking back, Tracee and Brent are grateful they were able to share this experience.

“It was perfect to be in the same program at the same time,” Tracee said. “We challenged each other and competed a bit. He ended up earning honors cords, and he was very proud of himself and I was very proud of him.”

In addition to being in the same family and working at the same company, Tracee and Brent now have another thing in common: they’re fellow alumni.

Published July 18, 2016



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