Debra Boutin found Springfield Technical Community College to be a spring board to a rewarding career as a math professor.

For all that STCC has done for her and other students, she generously made a donation on STCC Gives, June 1, 2022, the day of giving. The STCC Foundation will continue to accept donations for STCC Gives throughout June. Donations help the STCC Foundation provide programmatic and scholarship aid to STCC students.

“This is my first time giving,” said Boutin, who is a math professor with a Ph.D. at Hamilton College in update New York. “I took a 10-year break after high school and STCC allowed me to restart my education. They got me from where I was to where I needed to be to go to a good college. I could not have gone to Smith College and then Cornell University without a good community college.”

After reflecting on how STCC transformed her life, she decided to donate money to support students on STCC Gives.

Boutin came to STCC on the GI Bill® 10 years after graduating from Chicopee Comprehensive High School. She served in the Navy for four years. By the time she decided to enroll at STCC, she was the mother of a five-year-old child and was doing part-time clerical work.

“A lot of people don’t realize that they want a college education or that they’re ready to put in what they need to put in to do it until they’ve been out of high school a while,” Boutin said.

After graduating from STCC in 1987, Boutin was accepted at Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar. The program enables women of nontraditional college age to complete a bachelor of arts degree either part-time or full-time, with flexible options for course loads, special academic advising, career counseling and housing.

At STCC, Boutin served as student trustee and was a math tutor. She was enrolled in data processing, as it was known in the 1980s. Students interested in computer programming today might enroll in cybertechnology, or computer and information technology security, at STCC.

“That’s when I found out that I still loved math,” she said. “That’s what spurred me on to Smith.”

Boutin’s daughter and grandson also went to community colleges. “When you miss that first step, community colleges bridge the gap,” she said. “I’m grateful for STCC and how it helped me get to where I am today.”

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