COVID-19 has taken a toll on many people – but it caused Heidi Lynn to redirect her life.

“In September of 2019, my youngest son, Wesley, had to have emergency brain surgery,”

said Lynn, a senior Business major. “He was out of school for that entire year. He was due to go back and then COVID hit. Instead of missing one year of school, he had to miss two. That’s when I decided that I was going to go back to school and finally finish my degree,” 

This is not Lynn’s first time at PNW. In 1991, right out of high school, she enrolled at what was then Purdue Calumet University, which is now PNW’s Hammond campus.

“I went to school for a year and a half,’” said Lynn. “I was a business major with a minor in communications at the time.” 

She had a traditional college experience, with in-person classes. After the year and a half, Lynn got a job offer and withdrew from school.

“I got a job offer, entered the workforce, got married, was a stay-at-home mom for 24 years, and then the world changed,” Lynn said.

When COVID opened the option of taking classes online, it became possible for Lynn to finally complete her degree. 

“I started with PNW and now, because of COVID, I am able to finish at PNW,” she said. 

The flexibility of online instruction makes it easier for Lynn to juggle college and family responsibilities.

“I still have to run carpool in the morning, pick up kids in the afternoon, and my schedule is crazy,” she said. “This online option works for me and my schedule.” 

Earning her degree online gave her many opportunities to create forever memories with her son, Wesley.

“We like to fish,” Lynn said. “When Wesley would finish his school work and the weather was nice, we’d run and get some bait, grab our poles, and go fishing for an hour.”