For Tracy Perez, RN, MSN, risk manager at CHI St. Luke's Health-The Woodlands Hospital, the 2005 birth of her first child was both personally and professionally transformative. 

"I was in awe of my labor delivery nurse. She inspired me to go back to school to become a nurse."

Tracy left her career in banking, enrolled in nursing school and got a part-time job at CHI St. Luke's Health-TheWoodlands Hospital as a patient care assistant. During her 11 years at the hospital, she progressed from caring for new mothers and infants at the bedside to the administrative side of health care. Along the way, she twice took advantage of the Tuition Assistance Program to further her education, receiving thousands of dollars in tuition reimbursement while earning her bachelor's degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing administration.

"I receive my master's degree last October and became risk manager in December," Tracy said. "The degree wasn't a requirement for my current job, but it will definitely support additional advancement. In the future, I'd like to get certified in legal nursing and health care quality, and maybe go to law school."

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*This story originally appeared in imagine magazine Spring issue