Working moms already have a lot on their plates – they often balance building their careers, providing for their families and giving back to their communities. Adding college student to that list might feel daunting, but for working mom Jennifer Shaw, it’s a step toward a life goal she set for herself a long time ago.
Returning to Peirce
Jennifer earned her associate degree in Medical Practice Management at Peirce 18 years ago and has always seen it as just the beginning of her lifelong learning journey. But between raising her son as a single mother and working her way up the career ladder with the City of Philadelphia, the timing was never right – until now."Why didn't I do this earlier?"
As a Philadelphia native, Jennifer grew up with her close-knit family in the Kensington area. With her grandmother living next door and three aunts on her block, she felt very supported by her family to continue her education. She graduated from high school in 1990 and took a semester off to decide what she wanted to do.
“I knew that I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t feel that I was ready for a large university,” explained Jennifer. “I heard good things about Peirce while I was in my senior year. I went to the open house, and I felt extremely comfortable, so that’s why I chose it.”
Jennifer enrolled in Peirce in January 1991 and earned her associate degree in Medical Practice Management. She graduated in 1995 and began working at the Frankford Hospital Division, where she did bookkeeping in the pharmacy. She stayed there for about a year and then got the chance to work for the City of Philadelphia as a 911 dispatcher. She spent the next 15 years climbing the career ladder while working for the City.
She has spent the past three years working as the Executive Secretary to the Director of the Division of Disease Control with the Department of Public Health. It was here that Jennifer realized she had risen as far in her career as she could go without a bachelor’s degree. She decided to return to Peirce because of her great experience earning her associate degree, so she began the application process last year.
After being accepted, Jennifer learned about the Mayor's Scholarship for City of Philadelphia Residents and Employees, which offers a full-tuition Peirce scholarship to a city employee. She decided to go for it and won! Thanks to that financial help, Jennifer can now concentrate fully on attending her classes, working full time and raising her 12-year-old son. And since her office is located just a few blocks from the College’s convenient Center City campus, she’s able to walk to her classes right after work.
“I just think anybody else who wants to earn a college degree should just go for it,” she said. “There’s so much flexibility nowadays, everybody’s extremely professional and the schedules are incredibly convenient. You’re going to think to yourself, ‘Why didn’t I do this earlier?’”