Family Affair: Mom and Son Ready to Graduate Together

Family Affair: Mom and Son Ready to Graduate Together

1,116 students will graduate during spring commencement

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

With the Class of 2024 being one of the largest classes of graduates in recent FVTC history, its size is only matched by the abundance of inspiring and unique student success stories.

For example, no need to look further than Maureen Fogarty and Timothy Ozminkowski. Not only are Maureen and Timothy mother and son, but they are also classmates about to graduate from FVTC. They share what it’s been like to pursue their education at the same time and at the same college.


Maureen will be graduating from the Nursing – RN Associate Degree program. Why did you decide to return to college and pursue nursing?

Returning to college has always been my goal. My family challenged me to let go of the excuses for not attending. You know, the excuses of my age, my responsibilities, etc. They reminded me that sacrifices aren’t just for moms or wives. I had to allow them to make sacrifices for me and do something for myself. It was time they supported and sacrificed for me in this endeavor.

Since I was 12, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. My mom was a Certified Nursing Assistant, and she took me to work. A lady in a wheelchair was yelling for help and reaching outward. As I approached her, the staff told me to leave her alone. Instead of listening, I took her hand. She stopped yelling. We smiled at each other. Like a wave, I was hit with the notion I wanted to be a nurse to be there for others. There is a draw to being there with a person who is at their worst. There’s a joy in bringing hope and help to those suffering from illness whether through using medication or a warm smile.

Timothy, tell us about your decision to attend FVTC and your program.

Before I started at Fox Valley Tech I took a year of classes at UW-Stevens Point, majoring in English. Right now, I am in the Software Developer program. The reason I chose to transfer to FVTC was because I felt like my life was taking too long to get started. What I really want to do with my life is travel everywhere in the world, and I wanted to get a job that could facilitate that while also being fun.

Maureen, as an adult learner, what was the hardest part about returning to school?

The hardest part about returning was balancing life and my fear of technology. When I chose to participate and did not anticipate, things fell into place. As for technology, I can program an IV, with no fear or problem. Navigating the computer world for assignments is a different animal. Thankfully, that is where my son comes in. He was instrumental in easing my fears. Specifically, he kept me calm trying to use Kaltura capture for an assignment. I lost count of how many times he saved my butt retrieving lost Word documents and submissions that wound up in areas they shouldn’t.

Timothy, did you ever have concerns about Maureen being on campus as you were trying to have your own experience as a college student?

There was a little bit of concern. My mom is the biggest chatterbox in the state, and I was taken aback by how many people knew me before I knew them. Even my friends would text me telling me that they saw her in the Commons or talked to her on their way to class. That aside my mom being on campus meant that she knew when there was a career fair or fun opportunity for us; always jumping at the chance to help me out in some way.

What emotions go through your mind as you think about the two of you graduating at the same time?

Maureen: I am grateful, beaming with pride, and joyful! At first, I thought I might be taking something away from Timothy. Is this a moment he should have for himself? Graduating college is a celebratory accomplishment. We get to share this moment. What a memory to look back on as years pass.

Timothy: I feel excited and scared as anyone would to graduate. This is a big accomplishment for both of us and I am glad we get to share it and have this memory for the rest of our lives. My mom has been one of my biggest supporters through all stages of my life. Now I get to return the favor, and I couldn’t be more excited and prouder. I see this as an opportunity to show her how much I care and support her. A few years ago, this probably would have been one the most embarrassing situations I could think of. Today, knowing all that she has been through and done to get to this point, I want to see her cross that stage more than I want to cross it.

What are your plans after graduation?

Maureen: If Timothy is up for it, attending a few Brewer and Timber Rattlers games to decompress. After that, I hope to obtain a job as a mental health nurse.

Timothy: The first thing I am going to do after graduating is take the longest nap anyone has ever seen. Once that is done, I will celebrate with my family. In June, I am moving to Hawaii with some friends. It is the next journey in my life that I cannot wait to embark on. We have had this plan for over a year now and I have done my best to save every penny to make it happen.

Here is a look at the Class of 2024 by the numbers:

A livestream of the ceremony will be available on this Commencement Ceremony page.