Healthcare Worker and Single Mother Who Knows No Limits: Meet Shakiera Felder

Healthcare Worker and Single Mother Who Knows No Limits: Meet Shakiera Felder

As a single mother working two full-time jobs, Shakiera Felder was inspired by her family to continue her education: to honor her brother Derek after losing him to suicide; to fulfill her mother’s dream of all her children having college degrees; and to provide a wonderful life for her daughter, Maxx. 

After learning about Peirce through her older sister, Tyra, who graduated from Peirce in 2021, Shakiera knew firsthand of the College’s dedication to working adults. This was extremely important in her decision to enroll, as it allowed her the flexibility to work, raise her young child, and complete her degree. 

Shakiera entered Peirce with a decade of experience in healthcare. She currently works as a nursing assistant and enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in the Healthcare Administration program to capitalize on her experience and take her career to the next level. 

“I’ve been working in the medical field for 10 years now and I love helping my patients,” she said. “Healthcare Administration felt like the right fit for me.”

After meeting with her advisor, April Dunlap, they mapped out a plan that would help her complete her program in half the time. But to meet her goal, she would need to simultaneously take courses through Peirce and, while continuing to work and care for an infant. Although Shakiera knew this would be challenging, she took major steps to ensure nothing would stand in her way. 

To stay focused, she deleted all social networking apps from her phone, and replaced them with the app. She designated time every day to complete her coursework, readings, and completed at least 20 quizzes to remain on schedule. 

“After I would get my newborn to sleep, I would go on my app and get my classes finished, sometimes at 3am,” she said. “I would even be on the app while breastfeeding my infant! In less than two years (half the time it normally takes), I have completed 24 courses with, in addition to 17 courses at Peirce, and maintained a GPA of 3.1.” 

Even though she met with tears, sleepless nights, and trips to the emergency room for her daughter, she continued to persevere. Shakiera’s commitment to being a role model for her daughter, Maxx, has remained the driver of her success. 

“It was all worth it,” she said. “My daughter has helped me during all of this. She is two years old now and she tells me how proud she is of me!”

And while balancing motherhood and coursework has been demanding, Shakiera has found support at Peirce. 

“I’ve gained a family at Peirce,” she said. “I’ve told so many other working adults about Peirce and the great degree programs they have to offer. I have never had this much help or had someone believe in me like April Dunlap has. She was a major part of this journey and I will forever be grateful for her.” 

After graduating in May 2022, Shakiera will attend the accelerated RN-to-BSN program at Wilkes University. Her end goal? To help individuals who suffer from mental health issues, in honor of her brother. 

“I would like to work in a hospital helping individuals who suffer from mental illness and depression. That’s my passion and my brother Derek played a big role in that,” Shakiera said. “I want to be there for other families so they will never have to feel the pain that my family has had to endure.”

Through it all, Shakiera has continued to persevere. Her advice to other Peirce students and anyone considering coming back to school? “You can do it. Stay up, study, set goals and knock them out!”

Congratulations to Shakiera on her incredible tenacity and all of her accomplishments.

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