Helping Students Graduate Sooner

Limary Soto

Limary Soto, December 2019 graduate who benefited from credit efficiencies.

It didn’t take long to convince Limary Soto that MATC was the place to pursue her passion for educating young children.

“I went there just to get some information about it – and I came out a full-time student,” she recalled, thinking about a day that became a turning point in her life. “It was just like that.”

The transformation happened during a visit to the Oak Creek Campus. Counselor Carlos Aranda quickly set her up for success in the Early Childhood Education associate degree program.

Soto, who was running an in-home day care center at the time, made the trip with a friend who was already in the program. A degree could unlock her dreams of working in a Milwaukee Public Schools early childhood classroom, the friend said. That encouragement coupled with a desire to set an example for her children helped everything click.

“I wanted to show my kids that it is possible to work and study and be good at it,” she said.

After starting the program in January 2018, Soto took every opportunity to move forward including Summer and “Winterim” classes, which are offered between the Fall and Spring semesters.

In the spring of 2019, good news came from a conversation with instructor Megan Cary.

As the two were discussing future course selections, Cary noted that if Soto stayed on track with Summer and Fall classes, she would graduate in December – earlier than Soto thought.


Having people like Megan Cary (at MATC) to support you and go the extra mile to do everything you need to succeed, it's just amazing.

Limary Soto MATC alumna

MATC using credit efficiencies

Soto’s early graduation came thanks in part to an effort at MATC and across Wisconsin’s technical colleges to ensure students are taking exactly the courses they need to succeed in the next step of their learning journey, whether that’s a career, additional education or both. The Early Childhood Education degree program was one of the first programs to take part in the work, known as “credit efficiencies.”

More programs are going through the process, with a goal of reaching every eligible program prior to the Fall 2020 semester.

“Our faculty’s work to ensure our associate degree programs are within 60 to 64 required credits – which allows a student to complete in as little as two years – affirms our ongoing commitment to student success,” said MATC Dean of Academic Services Barb Cannell, who led the effort in partnership with instructors across the college.

Both ongoing and new students will be able to take advantage of the effort and reduce their time to degree. Already, credit efficiencies helped more than a dozen Early Childhood Education students – including Soto – achieve their dreams faster than they had initially planned.

The same week she walked across the stage and earned her associate degree, she began work as a paraprofessional educational assistant at MPS’ Riley School. Soto works with 3- to 5-year-old kindergarten students in the school’s dual-language Montessori program.

“I am using the skills I learned,” she said. “We make observations and whatever we see the child needs help with, we reinforce.”

Her MATC degree lets her experience what always drove her to serve young learners: seeing them grow and knowing she’ll make a difference in their lives. She encourages others to explore the program so they can serve in this in-demand field.

“It’s the best thing that I have done,” Soto said. “Having people like Megan Cary [at MATC] to support you and go the extra mile to do everything you need to succeed, it’s just amazing.”


To donate and support MATC students, contact Development Director Monika Walloch at or visit