Peirce College Class of 2023 graduates, working full-time and taking care of their family of 5: Meet Shawn and Aliyah Wood

Peirce College Class of 2023 graduates, working full-time and taking care of their family of 5: Meet Shawn and Aliyah Wood

Shawn and Aliyah Wood are Peirce College Class of 2023 graduates who have completed their bachelor’s degrees together while working full-time and taking care of their family of 5. 

Years ago, before enrolling at Peirce, Shawn and Aliyah had discussed continuing their educations to create a better future for themselves and their children. Then, the opportunity to go back to school arose during the time Shawn worked as an officer for the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). While taking his lunch break, he spoke with a representative from Peirce who provided him with information about the College’s programs and tuition discounts, waived application fees, and more through the Corporate Partnership program.

After learning all the benefits, and that they were also available to spouses and dependents, he spoke to his wife Aliyah about the possibility of her enrolling in college, as well. Once Aliyah met with the Admissions officer, they agreed that Peirce would be the best fit for them both to achieve their goals, while managing their busy lives. 

In May 2018, Shawn enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies program and Aliyah enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program. While she was already working in a management role, Aliyah decided to change careers and focus on her passion for finance and accounting. Shawn decided to enroll in the Criminal Justice program to move forward in his career with the city, and to pursue a legal career that would be beneficial to his community.  

During their time as students, they were met with many challenges. While dealing with the pandemic, Shawn overcame being sick with COVID-19 three times, and balancing a full-time job, caring for family members, and being a father and spouse. Aliyah dealt with the same challenges as a student, as well as three back-to-back pregnancies, religion bias and the passing of her sister. Even through all of these challenges, Shawn and Aliyah have used the support and strength of each other to thrive in their educational pursuits. 

“There were times we both wanted to give up, but she would push me to do my work,” Shawn said. 

One of the biggest motivations for them to continue their education was to find careers that would allow them to spend more time with their family. With three young children, it was important for them to prioritize spending time together and setting a positive example for their children. Additionally, the Woods felt that completing their degrees together was beneficial because they had someone who was going through the same challenges they were and their playful competition helped to motivate them further. 

“I have a habit of procrastinating, and my husband would always ask me if I did my homework and that would motivate me to get it done,” Aliyah said. 

They both speak highly of their experiences at Peirce. While it was challenging attending school remotely, having the support of one another helped them stay focused. Shawn especially highlights his experience in Professor Plunkett’s classes.

“Professor Plunkett has so much knowledge about the legal system and is truly someone that I look up to,” he said. 

Aliyah highlights her business courses and how she has used the knowledge she learned to help foster a promotion.

“Everything I learned at Peirce, I was able to apply it to my job and in real life,” she said. 

At Commencement on June 9, 2023, they both celebrated the completion of their degrees, as well as a Certificate in Client Services completed by Shawn.

Now as graduates of the Class of 2023, Aliyah is currently a Supervisor RX at CVS and plans to pursue a career in accounting where she can continue to use her leadership skills while managing financial statements for an organization. Shawn is currently an Account Clerk for the City of Philadelphia and plans to use his experience in law enforcement to pursue a career in criminal justice that makes a difference by helping the community.

And for all the Peirce students and the working adults considering going back to school, they have some advice, “Work hard and you will succeed! Remember to put family first, cherish every moment and lean on your support system.”

Congratulations on your graduation and all of your accomplishments, Shawn and Aliyah! 

  • Prev Post
  • Next Post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *