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SNHU Spotlight: Heather and Kayleigh Maier, Mother and Daughter Grads

Heather and Kayleigh Maier holding their diplomas at the SNHU graduationAfter breaking her leg, Heather Maier '23 went through surgery and spent several weeks in a cast — and then a boot — while recovering. "I just started walking a few weeks ago," she said.

Thankfully, she healed just in time to cross the stage at Commencement with her daughter, Kayleigh Maier '23, by her side. "We're here to graduate," Kayleigh said. "I'm feeling excited, nervous, but mostly just extremely proud of me and my mom."

The mother and daughter duo attended Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) at the same time — but in different ways. While Heather earned her bachelor's in accounting online, Kayleigh attended SNHU on campus while earning her bachelor's in English and creative writing with a fiction concentration and a minor in education.

Initially, Heather wasn't planning to attend Commencement in person. Her daughter changed her mind. "When we found out we were graduating at the same time, Kayleigh convinced me to walk with her," she said.

Kayleigh, on the other hand, had been envisioning walking the stage with her mom since the beginning. "It means a lot that she's going to be walking with me," Kayleigh said. "I'm so proud of her."

Their journeys started a few years prior when Heather decided to earn her degree through SNHU's partnership with her employer, a local hospital. "When I found out I could get a little bit of a discount on tuition, I just grabbed onto it," she said.

As for Kayleigh? SNHU was the only school she applied to. "I fell in love with the campus. It's beautiful," she said. She noted she particularly appreciated the atmosphere — and as an English student, she loved the library. "That's what really drew me in because I knew I was going to be a commuter," said Kayleigh.

She was working two jobs while going to school and said support from her family helped her finish her degree and jumpstart her career. "I've been able to get a very good job post-graduation that I start in a week," Kayleigh said.

Despite challenges — like broken bones — Heather and Kayleigh stayed committed and turned their goals into accomplishments with just a little help. "You have your support system, you gather your people around you, and you just go for it," Heather said. "The only thing that you can regret is what you don't do — what you don't try."

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Mars Girolimon '21 '23G is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University where they earned their bachelor's and master's, both in English and creative writing. In addition to their work in higher education, Girolimon's short fiction is published in the North American Review, So It Goes by The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library, X-R-A-Y and more. They're currently writing their debut novel, which was Longlisted for The First Pages Prize. Connect with them on LinkedIn and X, formerly known as Twitter.

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