Dream Deferred: Mom Graduates with Daughter

Nadia Rosemurgy and mom Kristie Peterson

Northern Michigan University's spring commencement carries added significance for Kristie Peterson of Marenisco. The mother of three has achieved her deferred dream of earning a bachelor's degree by completing the online applied workplace leadership program through NMU Global Campus. And in a case of serendipitous timing—about a week before Mother's Day—she will march in the ceremony alongside her daughter and elementary education graduate, Nadia Rosemurgy.

“Nadia has been my biggest supporter and we've shared a lot,” Peterson said through tears during a recent phone interview. “I had started college in 1993, but dropped out after two years to work, make money and raise my children. Life got in the way, but it always bothered me that I didn't finish. When my youngest graduated from high school and I thought about giving it a second try, I told Nadia I didn't know if I could do it. She was very encouraging and convinced me I could. It was only in the last year when we realized, ‘Oh my goodness, we're going to graduate together.'”

“I know it's been a long-term goal of hers and it's amazing she's finally getting it done and doing something for herself,” added Rosemurgy. “She has taught us we can do anything we want and succeed in life if we put our minds to it and never give up. I'm very happy for both of us and excited to see where life takes us.”

Peterson had worked several years for the State of Michigan and managed to put her oldest daughter through NMU. Destinee Rosemurgy now runs a successful graphic design business in the Madison area. Peterson decided she was ready for a career change with a better work-life balance. Nadia was in her second year at Northern, and son Jacob's high school graduation provided the impetus to embark on that goal.

When Peterson decided it was “time for mom” and re-engaged in higher education, she originally took classes through Gogebic Community College with the plan of completing an associate degree. She soon developed the desire and confidence to do more, and discovered she could achieve a bachelor's in only two years through NMU Global Campus—without quitting her day job. In February, she secured a new position as human resources director at Lac Vieux Desert Health Center in Watersmeet, which she credits to her impending NMU degree.

“I was amazed by how much global campus offers online,” Peterson said. “The applied workplace leadership program just spoke to me because it utilized and improved on all my skills, including my management experience with the state. It was amazing, and the support—such as online tutoring—was wonderful. I was aware that a lot of my classmates were also probably middle-age, working-class folks going back to school. They made us feel comfortable and welcome. And the professors pushed us outside our comfort zone to be better.”

Nadia knew from a young age that she wanted to work in education. A beloved first-grade teacher was a major influence. She selected NMU because the program's strong reputation and her love of Marquette. Nadia did her student teaching in a second-grade classroom in Ironwood, and will sub until the end of the school year.

“It's rewarding just to see the smiles on students' faces and knowing I'm helping them succeed, whether in education or being a good person in life,” Nadia said. “When I can watch their lightbulb come on and know they finally understand a concept, it brings me joy. I know I'll cry when I leave. I've spent so much time with them since January, they seem like my own kids.”

Nadia also secured a permanent position before commencement. She obviously made a positive impression on the Ironwood Area School District, because its administrators hired her to begin teaching first grade in September.

Kristie and Nadia
Kristie and Nadia
Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Around NMU