Delayed Gratification is Sweet for
Business Alumna Thomasina Allen

10/09


For Thomasina Stanford Allen, graduating from college was a dream deferred. A 1982 graduate of Vailsburg High School in Newark, Allen set out to study business and computers at a four-year school. But financial difficulties complicated her road. And then she was forced to put her aspirations completely on hold when her daughter, Colina, was diagnosed with autism. Allen needed to be there to advocate and to set an example. "I always wanted Colina to know how to make it on her own," Allen said. "I had to show her that she could overcome challenges and succeed."

However, Allen was frustrated by the highly competitive job market. "I felt disappointed when turned down for potentially lucrative jobs due to 'lack of computer skills,'" she admitted.

Thomasina Allen

Earning credits at several community colleges, she finally got serious about going back to school, enrolling at Mercer in 2003. "I wanted to combine business with computers," said Allen, whose efforts earned her Dean's List status in 2006. "At Mercer, I was able to easily integrate my academic and career goals with my work schedule, as well as care for my daughter. The program was comprehensive and tailored for me."

Now an administrative assistant at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority in Trenton, Allen felt the sweet taste of academic success when she graduated from MCCC in 2008 with an AAS degree in Business Software Applications. She enjoys her work for the Authority, where she provides records management support and a wide range of technical duties for school construction projects across the state. She began there in 2004 as a clerical assistant while studying at Mercer.

"I've definitely come full circle," said Allen, the first of her family to graduate from college. "MCCC delivered. It helped me to identify what I wanted to do and what I'm passionate about. I had the idea, but my academic adviser, Jennifer Dowd, and others helped me put my career plan in place." She plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in business and technology at an area four-year college.

She offers unwavering encouragement to those uncertain about their career path. "Focus on setting goals and completing all your tasks well," she advises. "Be patient and don't give up. You will succeed eventually. As President Obama says, 'Yes you can!'"

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