Grad didn’t think college was possible – but Gateway helped her to reach her goal and enter career
As a high-schooler, Keydi Osorio wanted to go to college, but was unsure whether she would be able to do so.
Just a few years later, the Gateway Marketing graduate certainly figured out how to earn a college degree and has become an example for others on the power of hard work and setting goals and the ability of a technical college to help a student succeed.
“A lot of the motivation to go to college was exactly what my parents wanted me to do, which was to follow the American dream,” says Keydi.
“I was young, I was scared about my immigration situation and I didn’t see a path to education. Now, I’m able to say I have an education. I have a small business. I have a family that I’m in love with. That’s my life – and Gateway has been the key to my success.”
Keydi began earning her degree early, taking eight Gateway courses through dual credit and earning 24 credits cost-free before she even graduated high school. She worked hard to juggle her busy life, taking high school courses in the morning, working in the afternoon and taking classes at Gateway in the evening.
But it helped her begin to reach her goals.
Keydi says she was also helped by Gateway Technical College Foundation scholarships and Gateway’s reasonable tuition. She also was able to transfer many of her credits from Gateway to an area four-year college where she will be able to earn her degree for about half the traditional cost.
“Gateway’s scholarships covered a lot of the cost of my education, plus the lower cost of tuition helped me to reach my goals,” says Keydi.
In addition, Keydi began her education early in other ways, too, by being named as the college’s District Ambassador right out of high school. In this role, Keydi represented the voice of the students to the college’s board, communities and the state.
“Being District Ambassador helped me with my confidence, and it’s helped me in my career,” says Keydi. “Through being the ambassador, I found out what it means to be responsible and what it means to represent myself and an organization. It’s helped me a lot with my business.”
Keydi points to an experience early in her education at Gateway as an example of why it’s had such an impact on her. She was taking a Marketing class and they were talking about how to make a cold call. One student, who was already in the industry, was taking the class as a refresher course. Keydi, then a nervous 17-year-old, was given valuable feedback by the industry veteran.
“He encouraged me to continue to grow,” says Keydi. “To me, that’s what Gateway is. There are so many people there who encourage you to do what you want to do, to encourage you to grow.
“The students and the instructors were awesome. I thought that they just saw me as a 17-year-old girl, but what they really saw in me was my potential. They encouraged me. I realize life isn’t always perfect, but they found a way to encourage me to do more and to push and improve myself. That’s Gateway.”
Keydi says she gained her career and family through Gateway. She opened a local digital marketing and assets business, Championship Digital Media, through the skills she gained at Gateway. Her business partner is fellow Gateway graduate and fellow District Ambassador Ryan Bognar. The two are parents to a small child and are engaged to be married soon. Keydi is also a member – and is now co-director – of a local nonprofit to help students just like her succeed.
“That’s the legacy I will leave behind. I have realized the strength you can have from gaining a college degree. You can succeed – and Gateway has given me that opportunity.”