March 8, 2019
When asked in school what their mother likes to do, statistics major Rachel Wetle’s elementary-age sons answer, “My mommy likes to do homework.”
As a single mother of two, in-home caregiver and full-time student, Wetle and her sons collectively have a lot of homework to do.
Juggling everything at the same time can be “really difficult,” Wetle said. “They have homework, then I have homework, then I have work, so finding the balance is an everyday challenge.”
Before transferring to ASU, Wetle earned her associate degree at Glendale Community College, originally intending to major in social work. After taking her first math course there, however, she noticed that she had a talent for it and decided to take the rest of the math courses offered. She transferred to the nearby ASU West campus to continue her studies.
She said the welcoming community and resources she found at ASU’s West campus made her workload more manageable. “When I need quiet time I’m able to go to the library. I love how it’s really quiet and I’m able to stay focused on what I need to get done,” she said.
“I also like the fact that the teachers make an effort, if you’re falling behind or something, to get you caught up,” said Wetle. One professor, she recalled, even offered to work with her over the weekend. “The fact that she was willing to go above and beyond to help me is amazing.”
Wetle has also gone above and beyond, getting involved in student organizations that touch on her diverse interests: The Interdisciplinary Student Association and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. She’s interested in philosophy and was involved in Amnesty International when she was at GCC. “I was the math person who supports human rights,” she said.
Wetle’s hard work has been paying off: this past summer, she landed a paid internship with Wells Fargo, working in finance. She has already secured a second paid internship with Wells Fargo for the summer of 2020, working in wealth and investment. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in finance but said she is open to positions in health care, sports or insurance.
She looks forward to her sons seeing her graduate. She’s glad that when the time comes for them to attend college, they will have had a front-row seat to seeing how hard their mom worked to get her degree. “They won’t be able to give me that excuse that it’s too hard. … That won’t slide with me.”
Wetle hopes that her story will inspire other parenting students. “I’m going through it, and it’s not easy in any way, but if I can just inspire somebody to try, I’ve served my purpose,” she said.