TV star finds continued success at Lake Washington Technical College
Imagine going to a job interview and being told, "You┬'re a famous TV star,
but we can't hire you. We need someone with computer experience." That
happened to Elaine Miles, most widely known as the character Marilyn
Whirlwind on the network series Northern Exposure. After the show was
cancelled in July 1996, Elaine and many of the other cast members found
themselves unemployed. Elaine tried to compete with others in the job world
and found that job hunting was difficult. She became depressed and did odd
jobs such as painting houses to support herself and her son.
Her friend and mentor, Peg Phillips (Ruth-Anne on Northern Exposure) had
enrolled at the University of Washington. Peg suggested that Elaine wait
until her five-year-old son started school, then head back to college, as
she knew Elaine wanted to learn about computers.
One night while watching TV, Elaine saw an advertisement about the Lake
Washington Technical College Single Parent Program. She learned she could
get financial assistance to go to school, obtain child care, and pay for
books and transportation to school through programs at the college, while
learning the latest in technology. She called the college and was assisted
with enrollment by Amy Persell, Career Specialist, and Maria Baker, Career
Specialist Assistant, in Student Services, and began in summer quarter.
At first Elaine was scared to even turn on a computer. But her instructor in
her first class taught her the basics that whet her appetite for more
courses. "I want to get my degree in computers," Elaine says, "then I can
get a real job. Knowing how to use a computer is a great way to make money."
She is returning this winter quarter to continue her studies. "I┬'m not
afraid now," she adds.
Elaine stays busy these days. "I do powwows with my five-year-old son,
public service announcements, and speaking engagements," she states. She
finished her second class in September, and has worked into her busy
schedule two movies and a play. She also plans to start her own acting
school with a friend. "My life now is happy and complete," she says. "I have
a goal and my son. It's rough being a single mom, but the people at Lake
Washington Technical College care. Now I have a direction for my life."
For information on the Single Parent program, call (425) 739-8100, extension
537, or stop by Room 126 in the East Building Mall on campus during college
Thanks for both this article and the one about Peg Phillips. It is interesting
to keep up with what's happening with the actors.