People take a variety of paths to higher education.

Madison Davis’s journey to Utah Valley University was a sweet one. Her love of baking led her to take a culinary arts class when she was attending Hunter High School in West Valley City. Because of its reputation in culinary arts, her teacher recommended she attend UVU — which turned out to be the right recipe.

“What I learned here was amazing,” Davis said. She added it opened even more doors for her. “I was originally only going to get an associate degree. But I wanted to learn more about the business side that went along with baking.”

She started considering her options and the idea of pursuing a bachelor’s degree rose to the top. It might allow her to get a better job and learn more for her future career, she thought. It also had an additional benefit.

“I woke up one day and realized I had only so many months until I finished my associate degree and I would be missing things about UVU,” she said. “I thought about it for a long time. One time I was seriously thinking about it and the next day I learned something amazing in my class. At that point, I knew I wanted to get my bachelor’s degree.”

She was concerned there would be a lot of hoops to jump through to make that change, but was pleasantly surprised.

“The transition was really easy,” she said. “Five minutes after I sat down, my adviser called me in. It didn’t cost me anything to change it and I kept the same adviser. It was such an easy process. It also made it so exciting to be able to work toward my bachelor’s degree.”

With the change, she is now majoring in hospitality management. Previously, she had been thinking of opening a bakery, but she is currently looking into something on a larger scale — perhaps a bed and breakfast.

“I would probably stay in Utah,” she said. “My family is here and I am very family-oriented. I like all the activities that there are to do. There is skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and going to national parks in the summer — so many things to do with families and friends.”

She said it is satisfying to think that she is halfway through her educational pursuits.

“I didn’t think I was going to get a bachelor’s degree and thought the change would stress me out, but after I applied I realized I am already halfway there and only have two years left,” she said.

However, she is realistic about anticipating that challenges will come.

“It is hard but you can do it,” she said. “School is hard for you no matter what grade you are in. You need to keep your eyes set on what you want in the long game.”

Going to UVU has also inspired her to get involved with student government. She is involved in the LEAD program, which is part of the Center for Advancement of Leadership. This year she is one of eight club ambassadors at UVU; who she describes as “liaisons” for clubs to schedule events, get help with fundraising and be more visible to students. She’s over half of the academic clubs.

“At UVU there is always someone there to help. There is so much to do here that it will change your life. College opens doors for people,” she said. “I didn’t think I would ever be a part of student government, but it has been good. ... We get to help the students learn what they can do. It gives them the power to create something they want to create.”

She encourages students to get involved in an aspect of campus life that fits them.

“There are so many organizations that students can be a part of to make their college experience 10 times better,” she said.

Women like Davis are encouraged to take advantage of the Women’s Success Center. The center offers women the support and resources they need to complete their degree and gain the confidence, opportunity and knowledge that come with a diploma. UVU is dedicated to providing higher education opportunities to all who seek them, especially to women. Further information is available at uvu.edu/wsc.