Bernal said that joining Women in Transition and being able to connect with other women going through similar transitions helped her feel like she belonged somewhere. “Just having the community of women from all walks of life to support each other was very helpful,” Bernal said.
Women in Transition is a college entry point program that helps women become economically self-sufficient and improve their lives through education. Two credit classes are required: Life Transitions and Career and Life Planning.
“The Women In Transition program is like a foundation for a woman coming into college, laying the groundwork for her to step into her future.” LCC Women’s Program coordinator Patsy Raney said.
The Women’s Center, which is open to all students, hosts the Women’s Program, which oversees Women in Transition.
“A woman can deal with a lot of different life issues so the Women In Transition program is really designed as a human development program,” Raney said. “Women can spend a lot of their lives helping other people achieve their goals but not necessarily focus on their own goals and aspirations.”
The Women’s Program, launched in 1973, was originally housed in a janitorial closet. By 1975, the Women’s Center was established and since then it has been providing information, referrals, educational opportunities, support services and family assistance to all students on campus.
Women In Transition classes started in 1987. LCC was the first community college in Oregon to receive state funding to launch this credit program.
Throughout the term, women are taught to balance their lives while going to college.
“We are helping the women who are entering Lane to figure out what career direction they might be interested in,” Raney said. “We are introducing them to science, technology, engineering and math. Women are really under-represented in those programs as the majority of students, instructors and employees in those fields are male.”
Orientations into the program are offered throughout the year. The next orientation will be held Nov. 18. The location and time is provided after students sign up.
“Women learn a lot in this program through counseling and education,” Marge Barnhart, Women In Transition program advisor said.
“It is very humbling to witness people recognizing their own values and gifts, and to see the journey a woman goes through in realizing their potential and dreams.”