Candy Carson came a long way to attend her Commencement ceremony at Clayton State University on May 9, 2015.
An online learner and a non-traditional student, Carson took a two-and-half-hour drive from her home in Chickamauga, Ga., just outside of Chattanooga, Tenn., to receive her Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Administrative Management. While Clayton State has many online leaners, and online degrees, online graduates don’t typically attend graduation. However, Carson is not typical.
Carson is a recipient of the University’s Benita H. Moore BAS Scholarship, established to honor the contributions of Dr. Benita Moore, a Clayton State alumna and long-time faculty and administrator in the School of Technology, to the BAS program at Clayton State. Applicants must be enrolled in the BAS program at Clayton State, although, in Carson’s case, she was an online enrollee.
“I decided that since I never finished college right out of high school that I wanted to go back to school,” she explains, having realized that she was completing tasks at work that many managers were doing, but she was not receiving the same compensation due to her lack of a college degree. “I started at my local technical college near my home. I originally took one class at the school and one online class. I quickly realized that the online class was a better use of time for me and my situation. So, I enrolled in all online classes from then on.”
Carson’s “situation” at that time included working full-time and two children. Now, she works part-time, getting off work in Chattanooga at 8:15 a.m. every day (that’s right, she’s been working third shift) and picking up her daughter at school at 2 p.m. No wonder she had only been on Clayton State’s main campus in Morrow once prior to walking across the stage to receive her diploma from President Dr. Thomas Hynes.
What made her “situation” even more taxing was her earlier college career, which meant that her financial aid was coming to an end when she enrolled at Clayton State in 2012. However, thanks to the donors for the Moore Scholarship, who, like Carson, believe in making dreams real for Clayton State students, she graduated May 9, Summa Cum Laude.
Her message to those scholarship donors?
“You are making a difference in the lives of not only the individual student, but entire families affected by the graduate and her successes in the present and future.”
Carson chose Clayton State to finish her four-year degree despite its distance from Chickamauga, primarily because of the University’s use of technology and the availability of online-only degrees.
“It has worked out fairly well, I only had to compromise a few times with classes that I wanted to take being available on campus only,” she recalls. “But, for the most part they had everything I needed to succeed in the program in an online format. A few of the core classes required proctored exams, which I was allowed to take at an approved college closer to my home.
“I, of course, am excited to be finally completing the program, but now find myself begging kids right out of high school to please finish, or at least get those core classes finished just in case you find yourself wanting to go back later! It has not been an easy road, but I am proud of the example I am setting for my children and other family members.”