Forging a Career through Education

Feb 20, 2024 | Blog, Indigenous Visionaries, Our Programs

Mariah Wanic, BMCC, Director of Charter Schools

Mariah Wanic, BMCC, Director of Charter Schools

By Mariah Wanic, BMCC, Director of Charter Schools

2023-2024 Indigenous Visionaries Fellow

After I graduated from high school, I decided to go to a four-year university. I was undecided on a major and was unsure of the career path I wanted to follow. At the end of my second year, I changed direction and decided to attend my tribal community college, Bay Mills Community College (BMCC). It proved to be a smaller, more personal experience where I was guided and supported by the wonderful faculty and staff. I was finally able to commit to a degree program in computer systems.

During my time studying at Bay Mills Community College, I obtained two associate degrees: one degree in computer information systems and the other in computer hardware systems. While attending BMCC, I participated in a work study program, which inspired me to pursue a career within BMCC upon graduation. After earning my degrees, I applied for a position as the Administrative Assistant to the President of BMCC. I was hired, and then transferred to the Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools Office as an administrative assistant.

With encouragement from my supervisor, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree through Central Michigan University (CMU). I graduated with a degree in community development and earned a promotion to Compliance Coordinator of the Charter Schools Office. After a short break from school, I decided to return to CMU to earn a Master of Science degree in Administration. I earned another promotion to Special Assistant to the President in Charge of Charter Schools. It was in this moment that I knew I wanted to continue furthering my education and my knowledge of education, which prompted me to enroll at CMU to complete a specialist in education degree.

I reached the top of my field when I was promoted to the position of director of charter schools. Since I had completed the specialist in education degree, it seemed like a natural transition to apply to the Central Michigan University’s Doctor of Educational Leadership program. I was admitted, completed the required course work, and am now in the dissertation process.

Pursuing higher education and working within my tribal community are extremely important to me. My goal is to defend my dissertation in 2025 and earn my doctoral degree, making me the first person in my immediate family to achieve this level of education.

As the Director of the Charter Schools Office at Bay Mills Community College, it is extremely important to me that students in the public school academies authorized by BMCC receive a meaningful education in a positive learning environment. Bay Mills Community College authorizes 45 public school academies around the state of Michigan. The Charter Schools Office at Bay Mills Community College provides oversight for these public school academies; our mission is to ensure a quality education to underserved population.

Through my 20 years of experience in the field of education, I am continually learning. Education is a continually changing field, especially public schools’ academies. It is essential for me to continue to grow and learn and give back to Bay Mills Indian Community for supporting me through my educational endeavors which led to finding a career that I am passionate about. Bay Mills Community College has been the foundation for my educational and career pathways.

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