The Power of Persistence – Meet Alumna Sandi Aurand Bosch

doctoral student, education, PhD

Sandi Aurand Bosch has never met an obstacle she couldn’t overcome. She’s faced many in her remarkable life; though often delayed, she never abandoned important goals – even while homeless.

With the death of her father at the age of 18 months, Sandi entered Mooseheart, the Child City, an orphanage in Illinois. Sandi credits her upbringing for shaping her belief that she could accomplish anything. “No one at Mooseheart ever told me I couldn’t do something.” Although this unique place provided her with a strong academic and vocational foundation, 14 1/2 years of institutionalization did not help Sandi develop the social-emotional skills necessary to navigate life successfully. This later influenced her to develop a re-entry program for felons and teach self-advocacy skills to people who had been institutionalized.

Sandi left Mooseheart at 16 and graduated from high school in Michigan. After high school, Sandi married a Michigan dairy farmer and moved to North Dakota. The couple had two children and settled into the ranching and farming life. Six years after her divorce and five attempts, as a 32-year-old single mom, Sandi completed her Bachelor’s degree in English.

She earned a Master’s degree in Counseling at 35, married again, and added two more daughters. In order to meet the needs of her youngest daughter who had special needs, Sandi put her career and educational goals on hold. She worked day labor, which allowed her to remain available for her daughter’s medical and school appointments. At this time, she began to develop Breaking the Barriers re-entry program, a one-to-one street approach, for felons. Later, due to the success of this program,  she taught the alternative re-entry approach to county probation agents.

With her daughter’s stabilization and high school graduation, Sandi returned to college for her PhD. She chose Northcentral University and found it had something in common with Mooseheart, “No one at NCU told me that I couldn’t do it, either.”

When it was time to take the comprehensive exam, Sandi found balancing the exam and a 60-hour work week in a residential center for troubled youth to be more than she could handle. Rather than slow down her education, she chose to resign from her job and take the PhD comprehensive exam head-on. Within a month of resigning, in the middle of winter, Sandi was homeless and sleeping in her car. Yet, she persevered. Upon completion of her comps, Sandi found a part-time job as a therapist at a jail and permanent housing.

In 2017, a 61-year-old Sandi completed her PhD in Education with a specialty in online learning with honors, the end of a three year and nine-month journey.

Today, as an active alumni Sandi stays connected to Mooseheart and confirms that students today continue to receive a well-rounded education, which now includes a strong community re-integration component to help facilitate better social-emotional skills.

Currently, Dr. Bosch is an author. Her most recently published book, A Child’s Voice: Overcoming Abuse is an inspirational look at her healing journey from child sexual abuse. Her next book, The Impossible Dream is due to be published in June 2019. Dr. Bosch calls herself “semi-retired,” but that won’t stop her from accomplishing big things, just as she did on her healing journey from orphan to completion of her PhD journey. Hers is a story of overcoming.