Laurel Joseph’s colleagues at Hackensack University Medical Center (UMC) — where she worked for more than a decade as a medical transcriptionist — recognized her potential and her passion for helping people. It was at their urging that she made the decision to complete her bachelor’s degree.
Laurel’s educational journey met with many obstacles. A native of Antigua in the West Indies, she began college in New York City, dropping out to raise her children as a single mother. Sixteen years ago, she resumed studies at Bergan County Community College when she and her family moved to northern New Jersey.
She wanted a degree that would enable her to help others.
“Many people encouraged me to go into nursing, but I decided instead to study psychology.”
She enrolled at FDU in 2008 and attended part-time while working at Hackensack UMC, and graduated in December 2014 with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in clinical social work.
She credits such sociology faculty members as Benjamin Freer, Ph.D., and Theresa Donati, Ph.D., for their inspiration and support. She also was encouraged by other role models she met while at FDU — including Barbara Liggett, who returned to the classroom at the age of 72 and graduated in May 2014.
“I truly had no confidence when I first came here,” says Laurel. “I had to prove to myself that I was smart. Pursuing my degree was key to that: I told myself that if I am capable of earning a college degree, then I am a smart and educated woman.”
Her hard work paid off when Laurel made the Dean’s List.
As part of her studies, Laurel did an internship at Spectrum for Living, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving adults with developmental disabilities. She accepted a full-time job with them after graduating and plans to earn a master’s in social work through online studies.
Part-time students are those who enroll in 1-11 credits per semester and should complete the Adult and Part-Time Application for Undergraduate Admission (PDF). Freshman applicants, full-time or part-time must submit an official SAT or ACT score. Students who are 25 years of age or older; or a veteran, who has graduated from high school and served in any of the armed forces of the United States military for two years or more prior to their intended term of enrollment, are not required to provide an SAT or ACT score. The University, however, reserves the right to request additional information and supporting documents and to require further assessments, including an interview or an internal assessment.
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