Originally featured in the Spring 2012 newsletter
Paula Gibson, 35, is a resident of Jackson, NJ, and a student at one of Rutgers’ Off-campus locations at Brookdale Community College (BCC). The off-campus locations enable Rutgers to offer degree programs to local residents of New Jersey who are faced with the challenge of balancing school with family, work and/or a long commute. Paula is currently enrolled in the BS in Labor Studies and Employment Relations offered by the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) and hopes to complete her degree in 2013.
Paula graduated from St. Mary’s Regional High School renamed Cardinal McCarrick High School in South Amboy, NJ, in 1995 and enrolled at Brookdale Community College in fall 1995 as a full-time student. While attending her first term gave her the confidence to continue her studies, Paula paced herself by taking 1 to 2 classes per term during winter, spring, summer and fall. She completed her Associate in Arts-Social Science on December 22, 2010– fifteen years later. She wanted to continue and earn her bachelors degree. She said, “I decided to go back to school as an adult and I wanted to stay as close to home as possible. I stopped in at the Higher Education Center in Freehold NJ and spoke with the staff at the Off-campus academic programs—Joe Walsh and Latoya Fendrick. They were so friendly and accommodating in answering all of my questions, that I applied to Rutgers afterwards.”
Paula has a full schedule. She works fulltime as a medical technician at CentraState Health Systems in Freehold, NJ. She attends school fulltime and is a devoted mother to her twelve year-old daughter, Madison. Madison is a big fan of Rutgers University. Her dream is to attend Rutgers University to be one of their basketball players. Paula says, “Life can be very hectic since Madison plays four sports, so my time is very limited. I try not to miss any of her games.” Paula maintains a solid 3.000 GPA and admits that going at it for 16 years has taught her some valuable lessons—stay motivated and positive! She says, “If you want something bad enough, find your inner strength to succeed.”