Alisa Higgins - Addiction Counseling Program Alum Reaching for Her Dreams

Alumna Alisa Higgins

When Alisa Higgins joined Minneapolis College’s Addiction Counseling Program, it was a new beginning. Laid off in March 2015 from a 20-year career, Alisa joined the Dislocated Workers Program, designed to help people who have been laid off overcome difficult barriers and get back to work as quickly as possible.

Through the program, Alisa, a first-generation college student, found Minneapolis College and decided to return to school to pursue her dream of helping people achieve and sustain recovery.

Alisa was drawn to the stellar reputation of Minneapolis College’s Addiction Counseling Program, the oldest in the state of Minnesota, and started classes in the fall of 2015.

“Initially, I had a lot of fear beginning college,” said Alisa, who hadn’t been in school for nearly 30 years. “Once I started classes and found the appropriate support services and extracurricular activities, things fell into place.”

Addiction Counseling Club Vice President

One of the places on campus Alisa found a home was the Addiction Counseling Club, which engages students in extracurricular activities that promote recovery. Elected to Club vice president in 2016, Alisa was active in fundraising and planning activities around Operation Recovery, an annual celebration recognizing the millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery.

“Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month,” said Alisa. “I was honored to be part of the important activities on our campus.”

TRIO Starting Point

“TRIO Starting Point at Minneapolis College was another place on campus that helped me find my way,” said Alisa who noted the program's mission is to increase retention, transfer and graduation rates of low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities was extremely helpful.

“I found the program so valuable, I decided to become active in it myself and subsequently served as a student worker and peer mentor.” Alisa returned to campus to participate as an alum on a panel during TRIO Starting Point’s First-Generation Celebration in the fall of 2018.

Alisa graduated a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from Minneapolis College in May 2018 and transferred to Metro State University to pursue her bachelor’s degree. She also earned her temporary license and secured a job as a group facilitator at a local treatment center. Alisa’s long-term goals include obtaining a master’s degree in the area of mental health.

“I truly developed a love of learning at Minneapolis College,” said Alisa. “I’m thrilled to be back in school pursuing my dreams.”

Advice for her Peers

“Whatever you desire and dream, go for it,” exclaimed Alisa when asked for advice for her peers. “When you’re in college, pay attention to self-care, build rapport with your professors and your peers, find a study partner, take advantage of career counseling and time will fly.”

If you’re a graduate of Minneapolis College, you can continue to utilize us as a resource for career advancement and for helping others long after you graduate. Wherever life takes you, be sure to let us know where you are and what you’re doing. We’re your link to staying connected with fellow classmates and growing your career network.

Connect with us on the alumni network.