In January 2011, Miranda Voils was pregnant with her second child and cleaning houses with her sister-in-law.
She had been out of school for more than 10 years. She was scared to go back.
“I didn’t know where to go from there. I felt like I needed to go do something to better our lives somehow,” she said.
That’s when she visited the Brown County Career Resource Center.
Miranda had never wanted to go to college. “Mostly, it was because I had anxiety really bad. I would watch my friends go move off to college and I would be like, ‘Why are they doing that?” she said.
She and her husband, Rual, did not have permanent housing and were struggling.
“We went from having a secure home to not knowing where we’re going to live. We had to be on pretty much every government assistance there was,” Miranda said.
“Which drives us crazy,” Rual added.
“It was embarrassing and it was humiliating and it was hard,” she said.
Miranda decided she wanted to become an ultrasound technician. She had looked up the Ivy Tech curriculum and completed the admission process online before going to the CRC.
“I had already navigated that on my own, so when I walked in, I said ‘This is the degree I think I want, now what do I do?’” she said.
The staff at the CRC did not pressure Miranda — which, as an anxious person, she appreciated.
“They just sat down and said, ‘You can take this as slow as you want, so get through these general courses first.’ They kind of set me on a plan and let me know that I can do it. They’re like, ‘You don’t have to take a full semester; you could take one class and see how you do,’” she said.
Miranda took all of her general education classes at the CRC, then applied for the Ivy Tech Imaging Services program.
CRC staff helped her put together her portfolio, even calling Ivy Tech to make sure she was covering all of the bases.
She was accepted into the program and began taking a class in Terre Haute on Fridays. She completed clinical work the rest of the week.
The vehicle Miranda drove would blow smoke from the engine through the vents inside the vehicle.
“In the winter, I had to roll the windows down so the babies could breathe,” she said.
The couple didn’t have a lot of gas money, either.
Miranda was ready to quit.
“I walked into the CRC one day and I said, ‘I am not a quitter, but I quit because I can’t. It’s not my choice, but I can’t. I can’t do it,'” she said.
The CRC staff wouldn’t let that happen.
“They said, ‘Oh no, you’re not quitting.’ They pointed me to different resources that helped with things like gas money,” she said.
Miranda graduated from the program summa cum laude in May 2014.
She was the first person from her family to graduate from college.
“It was real exciting for everybody,” Rual added.
Miranda now works as an ultrasound technician at Monroe Hospital in Bloomington and at Clarity of South Central Indiana in Columbus.
The one piece of advice Miranda would give to someone who is thinking about continuing their education is to visit the CRC.
“Just because you walk through the door to ask questions doesn’t mean that you have to jump on the train and ride it all the way down the track. You can just put one foot in and see what it’s like,” she said.
“If you want to try, then they are all about helping you. Whatever your goal is, they want to get you there.”
Miranda’s decision has changed her family’s life.
The Voilses now own a home and hope to add on to it. They now have three children and own two “really nice” vehicles.
And they are no longer using government assistance.
“Her decision to go down there was, talk about life-changing. I would say we went from absolutely poor to middle class,” Rual said.
Miranda smiles in agreement.
“We just stepped into the middle class, and we’re figuring out what that’s all about,” she said.