Janine Betts comes from a family of educated women, but she says choices that she made earlier in her life prevented her from earning a degree. When she decided that she was ready to go to college, an opportunity with Antioch University’s Bridge Program helped her make her dream come true, and even beyond.
“I am grateful,” said Betts, who earned her BA in Liberal Studies in 2017 and then her MA in Clinical Psychology in 2019, both from Antioch. She was chosen to serve as the student speaker for the MA in Clinical Psychology at the Commencement ceremony. “I am really, really grateful for the people who believed in me.”
In 2012, at age 50, Betts began her journey with Antioch, starting with the Bridge program, which provides University level education for students who may not otherwise have access to higher education.
“It’s been a nice ride. The Bridge program was instrumental because I was a recovering addict and out of prison. I wasn’t sure if I could even earn a degree,” said Betts who earned her master’s at age 56. “It was an amazing process that helped me to overcome some of the struggles in my life and catapult me to what comes next.”
The Bridge Program provides university-level education for students who may not otherwise have access to higher education. Bridge students study philosophy, literature, art history, writing, and urban studies all free of charge. Graduates can earn up to 15 transferable units of university credit, which can be applied toward an undergraduate degree. Since its founding in 1999, nearly 700 students have completed the program.
Betts said that the Bridge Program changed her life and that she is amazed at how it showed up when she needed it. She is planning to serve on the Bridge Board to give back to the program.
“I don’t take anything for granted that I have right now,” said Betts. “When I surrendered my will then things in my life began to change dramatically and quickly.”
Betts focused her master’s studies at Antioch in Community Psychology and plans to earn certificates in hospice and domestic violence work to augment her psychology training. She wants to work with women to help them overcome their struggles as she did. Her vision is to found a habilitation center and help women who have not found their way, get on the right path.
“I want to work with women who want a hand and not a hand out,” said Betts. “I needed that hand at Bridge. They held my hand through my process and I kept moving.”