Longtime Professional Nursing Assistant Finishes Healthcare Degree – Claudia Stamper ’18

Claudia Stamper was in the workforce for 20 years when her daughter invited her to an open house at Antioch University Midwest.

It started with an invitation. Less than two years later, Claudia Stamper is ready to make big impact in the field of elder care.

Stamper, who received her bachelor’s in Management with a focus on healthcare, didn’t have any plans to finish her degree.

A nursing assistant for the past 20 years, Stamper, 46, had close to 50 credit hours under her belt already.

Her daughter, Sylvia Cunningham, gave her a nudge in that direction by inviting her mother to attend an open house at Antioch University Midwest with her.

“She talked me into doing this together,” said Stamper of her daughter, who received her Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Environmental Sustainability at Antioch University Midwest this year along with her mother.

“I said, ‘Why not?’ I had no clear plan – only that I wanted to focus on healthcare.”

Her career has spanned home care and work at nursing homes and with Hospice.

With her degree, she now has so many more options, she said. She’s passionate about working with the elderly and would like to work as a memory care director of an Alzheimer’s unit.

“I want to speak for those who don’t have a voice,” she said.

In one of her courses at Antioch that focuses on mandating change within the healthcare system, she learned about a law that hasn’t been revised in more than a decade.

“It has to do with understaffed nursing homes,” she said. “The caregiver to resident ratio is 1 to 15.”

One of her goals is to advocate for reform of the existing law.

Stamper credits Denny Russell, coordinator of the Robert Dizney Writing Center, for leading her down the path to success.

“I had to learn so much, starting with basic knowledge of computers,” she said. “He taught me things I never thought I would understand. All his help in directing me and the patience he had working with me helped me grown tremendously. If it had not been for him, I wouldn’t have finished. He was the real backbone for me at Antioch University.”

At first, Stamper wasn’t sure she’d made the right decision pursuing her bachelor’s.

It was Russell who helped boost her confidence.

“He told me I was doing master’s level writing,” she said. “I could go to him at any given time and he would give me ideas – just enough to spark the thought process – and help my paper flow.”

She visited Russell at the writing center any time she had a paper to write, including her final project that was nearly 70 pages for her Culture, Conflict and Social Research course. Its focus was the effect of illegal immigration on the U.S. economy.

“I’d never done an annotated bibliography – I was lost,” she said. “I always knew I could rely on (Russell).”

No matter where in the world it takes her, Stamper will follow any promising career opportunity.

After having some initial trepidation about the value of finishing her degree, Claudia said, “The things I’ve learned and am able to reflect on – it’s expanded my horizons tremendously.”

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