Kewan McCully can’t help but smile. It’s hard not to these days.
The USW Local 1014 member and furnace assistant in the QBOP has a lot to be happy about: his family, his job, and most recently, his college degree.
“I couldn’t have done it without funds from the ICD program,” McCully said. “The funds allowed me to finish college and earn my bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management.”
McCully, who participates through the USW/U.S. Steel-Gary works program, will admit it was far from easy – managing shift work, switching shifts with co-workers, and even using vacation days to earn his Bachelor’s of Science degree from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana.
McCully wasn’t your traditional student, either. The 1990 Gary Lew Wallace grad and Army veteran attended Vincennes University from 1994-96, but quickly life changed. He got married to his wife, Zabrina, and started a family. They have two children, Kewan Jr., 21, and Sydney, 15. Kewan and Zabrina just celebrated 18 years of marriage in June.
It was only recently he decided to go back as a non-traditional student – but not without some poking and prodding from Zabrina, among others.
“My wife is working on her Ph. D, so she was really pushing me to do it,” Kewan said. “I’ll admit it, it was tough, especially if you’re on midnights and instead of going home and going to bed after your shift you’re at the library or finishing a paper.
“When you’ve been out of school for a while like me it’s like learning how to write papers all over again – or really doing them the right way.”
McCully still remembers when Charva Jones, the District 7 Sub District 5 Director and ICD LJC co-chair, encouraged him to go to the USW/U.S. Steel-Gary Works Career Development office and inquire about funding for college credits.
“I couldn’t have done it without a lot of people and a ton of support,” McCully said. “My wife and Charva, (USW District 7 Director) Mike Millsap and (ICD coordinator) Debbie Bohling were all a part of it. I’m truly blessed and grateful to my Union and the ICD program.”
McCully will celebrate 11 years at U.S. Steel in September.
“The shifts are tough – but I have no issues with my job,” McCully said. “I think down the road I’d like to work as a union organizer or maybe for a non-profit (company). I’m just glad I listened, took the advice, and used the ICD funds. Without the USW Family and the support of my family, I wouldn’t have accomplished this.”