Susan Long

Susan Long

Retired roller derby skater, Susan Long, attributes her success at IU South Bend and the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics to the positive, resilient mindset she developed skating for the South Bend Roller Girls. “In this world, how quickly you get back up after a fall and focus on the moment is what really matters,” Susan explained.

In 2008, when many lost their jobs, Susan did too. After 18 years in the family transportation business, she was looking for a new job, but was unable to find a comparable position. “I found there were no managerial positions for people without college degrees,” she explained.

Resilient and determined, Susan decided to pursue her college degree at IU South Bend, working full time and going to school part time. Taking 9-11 credit hours per semester over the last six years, the senior economics major will graduate in May 2016. “I am very committed student, and work really hard on my education,” she said. “My employer was flexible, so I was able to take some classes during the day.”

When she started in the business school, Susan wasn’t sure what she would choose as her major, but after taking an Introduction to Macroeconomics class, she knew she wanted to major in economics. “As a group assignment, we applied the economic concepts we studied in class to current economic issues, and developed ideas for addressing these problems,” said Susan. “I learned so much about how our economy works in this class.” After years working in business, Susan liked the fresh perspective economics presented, so she chose economics as her major.

She also found IU South Bend and Leighton School faculty to be very supportive. “They are very encouraging and they understand the struggle students encounter when they must work while attending school,” she commented. “My professors set aside time to talk to me and get to know my interests, offering assistance and advice all along the way. They took a genuine interest in my success.”

Although her time was limited, Susan worked a few hours a week as a peer mentor in the economics department. “I enjoyed sharing my experiences with other students,” commented Susan. In addition to helping her peers, Susan also volunteers at the South Bend Community Foundation on the committee for economics and justice. “I never would be actively involved with this cause, if I had not been an economics major at the Leighton School,” she explained. “It opened my eyes to economic injustice, and the ways we can address these issues.”

In addition to economics, Susan discovered an interest in sustainability, after taking a sustainability class as one of her electives. Susan hopes to combine her interests in business, economics, and sustainability in a future business someday. In the meantime, she’s keeping her eyes focused on the prize—an IU economics degree from the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics.