The Women's Center exists to assist all women in achieving their full potential in education, career and personal life through academic and intellectual growth, professional development and personal empowerment. One of the ways we work to achieve this mission is in our support services and programs for Returning Women (undergraduate students over the age of 25). The Women’s Center offers meeting space for these students in addition to scholarship opportunities.
Next year we are hoping to launch a mentorship program for Returning Women. To help raise awareness about this new pilot program, we’re highlighting some current Returning Women who are a part of the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Scholarship program. If you’re interested in learning more about the Returning Women’s meetings or scholarships, contact us at email@example.com.
Who are you?
I am Amy Connor, and I am a returning student studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UMBC. Before coming to UMBC, I was an artist and gallery director who specialized in contemporary abstract landscapes. I originally attended the University of Florida where I studied Agricultural and Biological Engineering before pursuing a Fine Art Degree. I love science, I think it can be incredibly creative, and I am loving learning more about Chemistry and Biology. While attending UMBC, I work full-time managing a restaurant in Frederick, Maryland, and when I can spare a few hours you will always find me outdoors hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or biking.
What benefits have you experienced as a Newcombe Scholar?
As a Newcombe Scholar, I have met so many other women who share in the struggles and also the benefits of being a returning student. Most importantly, as a returning student, it can sometimes feel like you are a bit alone in the hard work put into your higher education. Younger students have friends that share in their experiences at school and families that provide more encouragement. By awarding me with the Newcombe Scholarship, the Foundation showed me that they believe in what I am doing and trust that I can succeed. That encouragement is worth more than even the scholarship itself.
What do you wish traditional students knew about being a non-traditional student?
We really love being here and are extremely dedicated to our coursework. Returning to college requires more courage than I thought it would, and non-traditional students typically have a clear vision of what they would like from their futures. We may have great career advice to offer, as many of us have had interesting careers in the past. The most important thing you may learn from your non-traditional classmates is to be passionate about your future! Whether we are here to improve our quality of life or the lives of our families, to find a new rewarding career, or to make a difference in a field of study, choose something that is worth your life's work and never give up. The most challenging things in life always have the best rewards.
What do you wish the University and Professors knew about being a non-traditional student?
Once again, we are so excited to be here! Non-traditional students work very hard to make school fit into their lives and the struggle to do so makes success even more rewarding. We are here to engage in our education and learn as much as we can from you.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to new non-traditional students at UMBC?
Seek out other students that are in similar walks of life, who share the challenges of being a returning student, but also be sure to engage with traditional students on campus. Our peers at UMBC can teach us as much as we can teach them, and I owe many of my friends here on campus for showing me how to relax and enjoy being a student. There is a balance that you must find between your work schedule, school, family, and fun, and it is important to give yourself time to relax and enjoy the present. Be grateful for all you have and proud of all you have already accomplished!
In her free time, Amy still loves to paint. Pictured above is one of her paintings.