In 2011, Tulay Ergin moved from Turkey to the United States to support her husband’s pursuit of a Ph.D. After a 10-year break from her own career in surgical nursing, she wanted to rejoin the workforce.
In Turkey, Tulay was recognized as a hardworking surgical nurse with a growing passion to help people using the talents and knowledge she gained from her schooling. She also had a passion for adventure, which is what brought her and her family to America.
Tulay and her family moved to Alabama in 2011, where her husband pursued and studied to earn his Ph.D through the University of Alabama. Tulay met a large community of individuals who also spoke Turkish there, but when her family moved to Muncie, Indiana, in 2017, this was not the case. Tulay found herself feeling embarrassed and shy to reach out and communicate with people, as her English was not very strong.
“In Turkey, I was a very successful woman, and I felt very powerful, but I lost my self-confidence when I moved to America because it was difficult to communicate,” said Tulay.
Since Tulay’s move to America, she has given birth to two children, Ahmet, who is five, and her youngest, Furkan, who is three. Because her children were so young, Tulay focused on raising and spending time with them at home.
One day, Tulay was introduced to The Excel Center®, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s tuition-free high school for adults. Tulay fell in love with the facility after going through orientation and started classes in 2019. Even though Tulay had already received her diploma in Turkey, she wanted to strengthen her English speaking skills, gain more knowledge and earn an Indiana Core 40 high school diploma.
Tulay’s main concern was balancing her education and spending time with her two toddlers. She was able to bring her children to The Excel Center, which offers free, onsite child care services.
“My kids love to go to The Excel Center where they get to do fun activities, like making art and exploring outside. I still have art pieces that I’m keeping for our memories,” said Tulay.
With her children at her side, Tulay graduated in May 2021 and earned a high school diploma from The Excel Center, learning to fluently speak English in the process. She also was able to complete Ivy Tech college courses including sociology, psychology and chemistry, reigniting her passion for surgical nursing.
“I felt step-by-step I was able to regain my self-confidence,” said Tulay. “I started to feel like I was really doing something successful again.”
Tulay will be starting college this fall at Ball State University to study nursing and plans to pursue a master’s degree and Ph.D in the future. She looks forward to achieving new career goals and furthering her passion for helping people.
“Just as infants have step-by-step milestones, The Excel Center was an important and necessary milestone for my future,” said Tulay. “This was my life-changing opportunity.”