School of Business Administration

Dream to degree: Scholarship transforms academic journey

icon of a calendarJune 23, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Emily Morris

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Dream to degree: Scholarship transforms academic journey

Elizabeth LaCoursier sitting on a bench outdoors, smiling at the camera.
Oakland University MIS student and Commuter Scholarship recipient Elizabeth LaCoursier focuses on her education to achieve her lifelong dream to lead technological change. Photo by Emily Morris.

From solitaire to sudoku, a family’s first computer offered plenty of puzzles, but Oakland University Commuter Student Scholarship Award recipient Elizabeth LaCoursier was more interested in coding the puzzle.

At 13 years old, LaCoursier’s family brought home their first computer. She marveled as tedious typing turned into easy editing with their new computer. That curiosity evolved into a strong desire to impact innovation.

“From 13 to 37 [years old], technology has grown exponentially,” LaCoursier said. “In the next few years, I can’t even imagine what technology is going to look like, but if I’m there, I can be at the forefront of technology… making a change and writing code everyone uses.”

Despite her passion for innovation, LaCoursier didn’t expect a college education to be in the cards. Earning the Commuter Student Scholarship Award reignited her passion for puzzles. Now, she is on track to graduate this December with a bachelor of science in management information systems, specializing in information security management.

After graduating high school, college was not an option for her financially. Although many people had reservations about her going to college later in life, she persevered.

“I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life,” she said. “I knew that if I wanted to get there I needed to go back to school.”

At 30, LaCoursier started taking a few classes at a time at Macomb Community College. At 34, she committed to enrolling full-time at Oakland University. Receiving the Commuter Student Scholarship award, which covered almost all her tuition, accelerated her educational plan.

“I’m here, I’m going and then I can work in the field I’ve loved for years,” LaCoursier said. “I really want to make a difference, and if I have that degree under my belt, it’ll open a lot of doors for me that weren’t open before.”

While LaCoursier will be a first-generation college graduate, OU was familiar to her and her family. Her twin-sister, Melody, attended OU first, planting the seeds to advance Elizabeth’s career.

“She’d come home, and she’d always be so happy,” LaCoursier said. “If it was really a great fit for her, it would be a great fit for me too.”

Her sister was her first OU connection. Since enrolling at OU, LaCoursier is building a strong network of connections in professors, tutors and advisers. One connection, Meaghan Cole, experiential program manager at the OU School of Business, encouraged LaCoursier to join the Business Ambassador group.

“When I came to campus everyone helped me, and I want to return the favor,” LaCoursier said. “I want everyone to have the same experience I had at OU, just being part of a community.”

As an OU Business Ambassador, LaCoursier can finish her degree, build her network and get a head start helping people. As an Ambassador, she represents the OU School of Business by volunteering at university events and connecting business students to resources, like the free Tutoring Center and Career Services.

LaCoursier plans to continue “making a difference in the world” by leading the innovation she dreamed of as a child.

"I always wanted more than a job," she said. "I wanted a career."

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