Growing up, Melissa Warren envisioned that she would be stay-at-home mother in the tradition of her family. Yet when her own child was born, her perspective changed. Succeeding outside the home was no longer a goal just for herself – pursuing her dreams would enrich her daughter’s life, too. At age 26, she made the decision to be the first woman in her family to graduate from college.
Warren is on track to earn a bachelor of arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2010. She is one of several students receiving the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation Scholarship – a scholarship available specifically to nontraditional, female students. Warren’s scholarship has had a significant impact on her young family’s ability to afford day care expenses for her two-year-old daughter while she and her law student husband are in class, and it offsets the growing balances of their respective student loans.
AU offers Warren, a psychology major, the opportunity to fuse her love for children with real-world career potential. She came to AU with an interest in human development and the desire to work with pre-kindergarten youth, but her classes and professors have inspired her to think bigger. She plans to pursue her education through the PhD level and a career in research. The allure of the profession, she shares, is that “you get to learn and test yourself all the time, with your brain working in ways that make you feel perpetually young.”
While balancing full-time motherhood with a full class load hasn’t been easy, it has taught her several valuable lessons, chief among them time management. She also appreciates how her student experience allows her to meet short-term goals – a marked variation from the long-term goals of parenthood. One of her short-term goals was met when received an invitation to become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, a premier honor society for outstanding college students across the world. “Part of me envisions being a student for the rest of my life,” she says with a smile. “I definitely wasn’t like this before.”