Alumni Spotlight

August 2022 Alumni Spotlight: Catherine Hofer '16

As an adult student, you face many challenges after being out of high school for so many years. Compile that with returning from your first deployment. The degrees of anxiety are exemplified, and the stress levels to achieve your goals weigh heavy on you. Not only do you need to do this for yourself but for the future of your children and family. Being able to rely on the Center for Adult and Veteran Services (CAVS) Center at Kent State University saved my life!

In 2008 when I began my collegiate journey at Kent State as a single mom, adult student, and female veteran, striving to obtain my bachelor’s degree in the Science of Nursing, I never thought I would find the support, resources, kindness, and family that I found in the CAVS Center. They ensured that I had all available resources at my disposal to help me excel and propel me through my collegiate journey to graduation.  

Catherine Hofer ‘16 stands, in her military uniform with a person standing behind her resting their hands on her shoulders.
When I was struggling to get through classes, they helped me set up one-on-one tutoring sessions.  When I needed assistance with my children, they stepped in and watched them or helped me find someone who could.  When I felt alone as an adult student and veteran, the CAVS Center introduced me to the Kent State Veterans Club. Through the KSU Vets Club, I was able to find my niche and surround myself with those who understood what I was going through. They helped guide me and saw me through a lot of rough days.  When I needed additional employment that would work around my class schedule, the CAVS Center assisted me in gaining part-time employment.

After finally being accepted into the Kent State College of Nursing, I also received notice that I would be deploying again. I felt like all my hard work was coming to an abrupt halt and that I would have to start all over when I returned. The CAVS Center was able to reassure me that I would be able to return to Kent State following my return. They helped put my mind at ease so I could focus on the time I had left with my family and the mission ahead of me.  Upon my return, I found that those in the CAVS Center stayed true to their word, and I made a smooth transition from military life to college life once again, with all the necessary support and resources ready and waiting. 

Anyone that has been through nursing school can tell you how hard it is and how much work it requires. It is not for the faint of heart; the papers, care plans, clinicals, exams, and homework on school breaks. But saving lives is a huge deal and requires a lot of hard work, even after college. 

I was challenged not only as a student but as a parent as well. While in nursing school my youngest son had to have several surgeries and spent many weeks at Akron Children's Hospital.  During that time, I remained at his bedside, while also trying to keep up on my schoolwork and clinicals.  Additionally, in that time, my mom suddenly passed away.  It was every mother’s or child’s worst college nightmare. Without fail, the CAVS Center staff was there for me.  They sent texts of support, words of encouragement, and ensured my children and I were doing the best we could. 

Despite all of that, I persevered and was almost to the finish line. Upon entering my final semester, my financial aid and student loans ran out. I was devastated because though I had come so far, I was unsure how I was going to finish school. I turned to Joshua Rider, Executive Director of the CAVS Center, and once again and without fail, he came through for me with funds from the CAVS Center Support Fund. I remember Joshua telling me the wonderful news, and me just crying out of gratitude, happiness, and because this burden had been lifted by the CAVS Center Support Fund and its generous donors.  It is because of them that I was able to go on and graduate from Kent State in the summer of 2016, with my children there to witness me walk that stage and receive my diploma.

After graduating, I obtained my license and began my dream job at the place that I spent so much time as a mother and care giver to my son—Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. 

It was through the contributions of donors and the kindness of strangers that I was able to fulfill my dreams and give my children the hope that they too can do anything, despite facing many adversities. Kent State University is not only a place I attended college and obtained my degree. It is where I discovered the CAVS Center and my forever family.  I am forever indebted to the donors of the CAVS Support Fund, because without them, my dreams would have never come true.