Making the Transition from Corrections to the Classroom

Published: October 20, 2015

Being a college student is a far cry from working in law enforcement. Yet after spending 13 years as a probation and parole officer with the Idaho Department of Corrections, Terry Black is finally on his way to becoming what he truly wants to be. While working a full-time job and financing his own education at the College of Western Idaho, the non-traditional student does his best to make ends meet. He recently received a boost from the CWI Foundation that will help ease his financial burden in his quest to become a teacher.

“I ultimately chose CWI because it perfectly aligns with everything I want to do,” Terry said. “The value is good and so is the transferability.”

Terry is a second-year student majoring in secondary education with an emphasis in chemistry. Active in the CWI Chemistry Club and a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, he has also been a community volunteer. Good grades and involvement helped him earn the Foundation’s General Education Scholarship.

“This scholarship has been such a blessing,” he said. “I pay for my education through my job at the Lighthouse Rescue Mission, so I appreciate any help I get.”

The Lighthouse Rescue Mission is a shelter in Nampa for homeless, addicted and struggling men. Terry left his job at the IDOC six years ago and went to work there as a case manager. He helps people who are going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Three years ago, he decided to go back to school and study social work. But his love for science eventually won.

“I originally went to college to study chemistry in 1986,” he said. “I really enjoy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs. My boss at Lighthouse was a teacher and that’s when I decided to pursue my true passion.”

After Terry graduates, he intends to transfer his degree to Boise State University; where he will major in chemistry and continue his participation in the iDoTeach program. His ultimate goal is to become a high school teacher.

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