Yakima college student is nominated for Transforming Lives Award

Michael Schantz, a Yakima Valley College nursing student is one of six students in WA State who have been selected for special award.
Thumbnail Michael Schantz Headshot

YAKIMA, Wash. — Meet Michael Schantz, the Yakima Valley College’s nominee for Washington state’s Transforming Lives Award. According to a press release from the YVCC, “the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) Awards Committee recognizes the accomplishments of nominees from each of the state’s community and technical colleges for the Transforming Lives Award. “

Schantz is one of six students in the entire state who have been selected for the award. He is also invited to speak as a keynote speaker this January at the awards ceremony and will also receive a $500 scholarship from ACT, according to the ACT website. 

 “Have a plan in place first before starting [at a] community college. Have a really good idea on what career you want to pursue and start taking courses in that field along with the general education courses you have to complete for your degree. I would also like to advise new students to search for grants and scholarships. Or, if you’re working, talk to your company about tuition reimbursement.” – Michael Schantz

Yakima Valley College said they are proud of Schantz’s accomplishments and how he overcame the challenges life presented. The former tugboat engineer had to stop his maritime career after he became ill, according to the YVC. Schantz said even though he recovered from surgery for his medical issue, he could no longer work at sea. 

“When I lost the ability to stay in the maritime field, after an initial adjustment period, I decided to work toward a dream I had always had, to become a nurse,” said Schantz.

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Schantz is in his second year of YVC’s Nursing program by June 2022 and said he is grateful for the college’s support. “I have had a lifelong learning disability and have support through Disability Support Services,” said Schantz. 

“I was compelled to attend Yakima Valley College due to the stellar reputation of the nursing program, the convenient location, and affordability of tuition, and my ability to further my career while raising my children.” – Michael Schantz

Once Schantz passes the NCLEX nurse licensure exam, he said he plans to serve his community by working as a registered nurse in Yakima and then pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Washington State University, according to YVC. 

You can learn more about the Transforming Lives Award and how ACT will continue to inspire other students across Washington State.