Tracy Montgomery is well-acquainted with facing life’s challenges. She joined Kent State to pursue her graduate degree in Higher Education Administration & Student Personnel, knowing she would be forgoing time with her two sons and husband to take the 90 minute commute needed to get to Kent’s main campus. She accepted the risk of leaving a stable career she enjoyed to pursue a passion she loved for developing and guiding students on college campuses. She even quickly adapted when she realized that due to scheduling changes, she would end up on campus five days a week her first semester, giving away even more valued time with her family.
Yet nothing could have prepared Tracy for what life would deliver her during her first semester. Stepping out the door to begin her long trip to campus, Tracy received the call that her father had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his brain and would need emergency surgery. A month later, she, too, ended up in the emergency room and was taken into a major emergency surgery, and would have another one just months later. Despite her life being filled with many emergency surgeries, late night hospital room stays, and plenty of uncertainty, Tracy managed to complete the semester while only missing 3 classes total.
Shortly into her second semester, her dad passed away, even though he survived another emergency brain surgery. Soon Tracy found herself giving a eulogy and helping her family heal and continue on, while teaching classes on campus as a part of her graduate assistantship and going to graduate school full-time.
Tracy’s attitude and willingness to adapt was at the core of what got her through her challenging times. Yet, she found that the support from her co-workers in her graduate assistantship was a life-saver at times. In fact, her graduate assistant coordinator Dr. Tracy Lara-Hilton recommended her for the program, citing her ability to lead and mentor students, while making full use of the opportunities available to her at Kent State.
When Tracy looks for a source of strength, she looks to her favorite quote: “She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders & made it look like a pair of wings”. From the strength Tracy has demonstrated while a student here, she shows that she truly lives this mantra.