San Jac Certified: It’s all relative
06.20.2017 | By Madelon Zimmermann
PASADENA, Texas – The Sloterdijk family can happily say San Jacinto College has had a lasting impact on two generations of their family. Laura Sloterdijk, her sister, and her two children, Michael and Amy, all attended the College.
Laura Sloterdijk was recently recognized for 30 years of service to San Jacinto College and currently serves as the Coordinator of Division Operations for Business and Technology on the San Jacinto College Central Campus.
“I’m grateful that I have been blessed to work at this institution and with my San Jac family for 30 years,” said Sloterdijk. Adding that being able to help so many students thus changing their lives and that of their families is what is most rewarding.
While still in high school, Sloterdijk was caught skipping school by her father. He then took her to see a school counselor, where he was told skipping had not affected Sloterdijk’s GPA and that she would receive no disciplinary action. Her father, angered by Sloterdijk's misbehavior and the lack of discipline from the counselor, pulled her out of school and made her go to work. She then left home at the age of sixteen, was married, and had her son prior to her 18th birthday. After the birth of her son in 1978, she earned her General Education Diploma (GED) from San Jacinto College to ensure that she could find a decent job. Her marriage soon ended and after struggling for eight years to find work at a decent wage and stay afloat, the single mom decided to become a part of the Job Training Partnership Act (JPTA) program at San Jac, where she received a one-year secretarial certificate. She was then hired by that same program to work as a bookkeeper.
Sloterdijk married David, her husband who is now deceased, in 1988 and two years later had their daughter, Amy. She then decided to return to school once again. While earning her degree, she continued to work full-time at the College and take care of her two children. Six years later, she completed her associate degree in office administration-executive secretary/administrative assistant.
Sloterdijk has held several positions over her 30 years at the college. She started her career in the JPTA program office but after 14 years moved to work as an administrative assistant for the dean of technical education and Perkins Funds. She then worked as an administrative assistant for the child development department, the criminal justice department, the culinary arts and restaurant management department, and the dietetics department. Before taking the position she holds now, she worked as the administrative assistant to the associate dean of consumer services.
Sloterdijk’s drive and love of education has inspired several of her family members to also attend San Jacinto College, becoming a part of the San Jac family. Her youngest sister, Charlotte Cheatham, took classes at the College and is now working on her master’s degree in business. Her son, Michael Chapa, needed 15 hours to enlist in the army so he pursued his occupational certificate in welding from San Jac. And her daughter, Amy Sloterdijk, received her associate degree in registered nursing and is currently attending San Jac taking courses toward a bachelor of science degree in nursing with the hopes of transferring to the University of Texas-Arlington (UTA).
“My kids knew my education made a difference in our lives and education would make a difference in their lives” said Sloterdijk. “I instilled the need for education not only in my kids and family members, but also in friends and strangers I would meet.”
Thirty years later, Sloterdijk is nothing but thankful. “My San Jacinto College family is just that- my family. I absolutely love them. I could not have asked for more as far as a career,” she said, adding that she’s blessed with a job that allows her to assist students in obtaining their career goals by earning a certificate or degree that will ensure them a financially stable job and will help to provide for their families.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.