When Tatiana Wetzler left her home country of Brazil and moved to the United States, it didn’t take her long to begin feeling like a bit of an outsider. “People kept trying to tell me how I should act, in order to become more acceptable and palatable to them,” she said. “They were trying to make me more American and more like everybody else. It wasn’t until I enrolled at Pierce College that I found a community of people like me and finally felt at home.”
Wetzler enrolled at Pierce College as a new mom, juggling life with her newborn daughter with the demands of college. She studied accounting and went on to complete her undergrad and graduate work at University of Washington, all with a specific goal in mind: to come back to Pierce College as a professor. “I remember sitting in the classroom at Pierce and thinking maybe one day that could be me,” she said. “The diversity of the students and faculty at Pierce made me feel like there was finally a place for me. I knew I wanted to help others the way Pierce helped me.”
With the support of her husband, family, and Pierce College, Wetzler was able to pursue her dream of earning her degree in spite of her busy family life. “I don’t think I could have been successful without the support of my family and the folks at Pierce – especially in the Child Development Center,” she said. “They took my daughter in and offered the help that I needed to move forward and be successful in my classes.”
After completing her degrees, Wetzler spent several years working in corporate accounting to gain the work experience she would need to become an instructor at Pierce. When she saw the job opening for a full-time accounting professor at Pierce College, she knew the time was right.
Wetzler is now in her third year as a tenure-track accounting professor, but her journey to this point has not been easy. “I always had such a hard time in my math classes, and I used to tell myself I was dumb and just didn’t understand it,” Wetzler said. “Years, later I was diagnosed with dyslexia and finally learned the tools necessary to be successful. From then on, my life changed.”
Her experience with her learning disability helps her relate even better with her students, who often experience similar challenges.
“I love to talk about my struggles with my students, because I understand what my many of them are going through,” she said. “That’s what makes it even more special to me when I see them progress through the program and finish their degrees successfully.”
Reprinted, with permission, from the Pierce College website.