Over the span of 30 years, Melissa started and stopped college numerous times.
Derailed by major life events such as complications of pregnancy, death of her husband and being a single parent of two small children, and diagnosis and treatment of cancer, she was hesitant to try again. So Melissa stayed out of college. Instead she worked until she developed numerous health conditions and extreme obesity. Bedridden, she was told she was dying. She felt like she wanted to die.
In 2013, Melissa decided she did not want to be a negative influence on her granddaughter. She found new ways to manage her health issues, lost weight, and reignited her wish for getting a degree. She started back to college for her fifth time—this time participating in the EMPOWR (Empowering Mentors to Promote Women’s Retention) program.
EMPOWR is a program of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University and is a grantee of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. EMPOWR combines peer mentoring and interactive sessions to increase social integration and retention of nontraditional female students age 22–60.
With a 3.6 GPA, Melissa is determined to finish college and attributes her success to EMPOWR.
Discover more about EMPOWR.