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Julie Diaz '12 fell in love with Albright the moment she stepped onto campus during her visit as a young and spirited high school senior in 2008. The elementary education/English major joined Alpha Delta Pi sorority, worked in the college bookstore, and soaked in her four years as a traditional undergraduate student.
Marc Diaz '12, seven years Julie's senior, had never heard of Albright until his younger sister decided to attend. After he graduated high school in 2001 and spent a short time at Temple University, where he never felt he belonged, Marc moved to Florida and became a Harley-Davidson mechanic. He later came back to Pennsylvania, only to find himself working as a warehouse lead for a chemical plant; a position he describes as "a dirty, nasty, unrewarding job that leads me nowhere."
"It means a lot that he decided to go to Albright," says Julie, who remembers fondly the days when big brother Marc babysat her. "We did ridiculous things that were always fun," she says, recalling the time Marc rolled a T-shirt into a ball to play hockey in the living room. "We played on our knees so we'd be the same height," she says giggling.
Watching Julie succeed at Albright helped Marc see that he wanted more; he needed more to support his wife and the family they had started to plan. "When the global recession hit in 2008, my company trimmed its workforce by almost 50 percent. The rest of us were stuck working only four days a week, taking pay cuts, foregoing raises, and losing what little benefits we had," he says. "That's when I decided I had to do something to better protect my family and get myself out of this dead-end job. I needed to go back and finish my degree and move up in the world."
A billboard promoting Albright's Accelerated Degree Programs (ADP) prompted Marc to look into the program further. "As soon as I got home I went on the website and signed up," he says.
In May, both Julie and Marc received bachelor's degrees from Albright; Julie in the morning during the traditional undergraduate ceremony and Marc in the afternoon during the ADP ceremony.
A business administration major, Marc plans to continue his education. "Many of Albright's professors have really inspired me to press on and further my education," he says. "They have converted me from a Harley-Davidson mechanic to a complete business
Planning to earn a master of business administration degree in international business, Marc says, "I've already begun learning my third language, Castilian, so I can become that much better at what I do." Marc has also studied German.
Julie will be back at Albright in the fall to student-teach at a local elementary school.
Cathy and Jerry Diaz could not be more proud of their children. "Marc was married and had his first baby while working for his business degree at the Delaware County satellite program. He did this while working full-time and balancing the new responsibilities of fatherhood," says Cathy. Julie was working at the bookstore, and when Marc's daughter Sophia was born, she immediately purchased her an Albright T-shirt.
"They both successfully overcame many different challenges," Cathy says. "It was a very proud day for us attending their respective graduations at Albright.
To view clips and photos from Commencement 2012, please visit this link on the Albright web site.
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