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Lake Washington Technical College

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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 hours.

Thanks for both this article and the one about Peg Phillips. It is interesting to keep up with what's happening with the actors.

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