Ask any member of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) staff to name a particularly tenacious student, and undoubtably, you'll be given a list of several hardworking individuals. Yet, there are some students whose challenges are so significant, and their overcoming of odds so great, that one cannot help but be amazed at what they have achieved. Amber Gray is one such student.
Kathryn Bunn has always been ambitious.
A serious student in high school, Bunn expected to excel in college, alongside her high-achieving peers, yet found that she was lacking the maturity necessary to succeed. After a difficult two years at the University of Florida, Bunn reluctantly decided to withdraw from school.
Shanard Deas grew up in an community where few children dare to dream. With a small number of overstretched role models, and limited academic direction, young people in his neighborhood were often left merely aspiring to survive - to move beyond the disheartening realities of their surroundings.
““Follow the calling in your heart; trust yourself.”
When Diana Deaver first set out to complete her bachelor’s degree, she had practicality in mind, not passion.
Like so many young adults, Deaver was seeking a credential that would help ensure a reasonable income, and selected a program that seemed like a means to that end; yet she knew that she was not following her calling. Luckily for Deaver, she had trusted advisors to steer her on the right path.
Deaver studied psycho-sociology at the Universitatea Virgil Madgearu in Romania in 2000, but after immigrating to the United States, abandoned her studies in favor of securing employment. “I took whatever jobs were available,” explains Deaver. “I was in this country by myself, and had no one to support me.” Deaver knew that a college degree was essential to career advancement and -not wanting to get stuck - earned an Associate’s Degree from Trident Technical College. Deaver subsequently enrolled at the College of Charleston as an accounting major, and was soon matched with a mentor through Charleston Young Professionals.
Photo of the Sottile Theater courtesy of College Today.
The following feature was previously published on our blog in March, 2016
A cramped auditorium. An audience of third-graders. A fifth grade play.
These are some of the images that come to mind when Dr. Alice Hamilton recalls one of the defining moments in her life. That day, in the midst of her fidgeting classmates, Hamilton sat rapt with attention as she watched the play unfold. Enchanted by her schoolmates’ performance, she had been initiated to the transformative power of the theatre.
“I was excruciatingly shy in front of crowds,” explains Hamilton, who has served as Director of the CofC Center for Continuing and Professional Education since 2013. “But as I watched those kids, I realized that I could do anything. I just needed to be portaying a character on stage." A passion for the dramatic arts soon developed, and Hamilton seized every opportunity to practice her developing craft. It was this desire that led 13 -year-old Hamilton to a University of New Brunswick workshop, where she would meet the woman who would shape the course her professional life.
Within every human being lies a well of untapped capabilities, waiting for the right circumstances to bring them to the fore.
This theory has long inspired Dr. Pam Mayer, an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, who from her earliest academic pursuits, sought to guide individuals in realizing their full potential. A psychologist by training, Dr. Mayer focused her career primarily on leadership development, helping executives to increase their overall effectiveness, and devising curricula and instruments for industry-wide use.
From her early days growing up in the large urban city of Porto Alegre, the capital of the southernmost state in Brazil, Dr. Daniela Goya-Tocchetto has had a passion for learning. This passion, combined with a desire to gain a better understanding of disparate peoples and cultures, led Goya-Tocchetto to devote her life and career to the interdisciplinary study of human behavior.
It is not uncommon for college students to look forward to graduation day: the rewarding culmination of four years of hard work and sacrifice. For non-traditional students, graduation can be especially poignant, as it is often a seemingly elusive day that has been riddled with unanticipated delays. MaryNell Goolsby-Sweat is among the students who can relate to that experience, yet she is hoping for a somewhat unique reward on her own graduation day: her adult son with his own College of Charleston diploma in hand.