With Obstacles in Her Way, She Found a Way to Overcome
Tuesday, Jan 16, 2024

Jennifer Welwood, a native of Medford, New Jersey, lacked access to proper guidance and financial resources, preventing her from understanding the importance of higher education.

Upon completing her high school studies, she worked at a standard job. However, she soon realized that this position was unlikely to offer her the growth she needed to achieve her goals and reach her desired destination. “Ultimately, I wanted better for myself, and getting a degree was the only option, no matter where or in what.”

The tragic news of her mother’s passing changed her academic path. Welwood pivoted her educational goals and transitioned into working in the hospitality industry. 

In 2018, Welwood became pregnant, and it set off a chain of thoughts and emotions that made her reflect on her role as a parent and the kind of person she wanted to be for her child. As a mother, Welwood is determined to positively influence her daughter’s life by instilling the value of education in her. Additionally, she wants to give her child more opportunities than she experienced as a youngster, encouraging her to explore different paths so she reaches her full potential.

The truth was that attempting to manage the responsibilities of being a new parent while attending school seemed impossible. After dropping out of school for the third time, she pursued a career in real estate, working as a realtor. She believed that the hours and career demands would be flexible. Unfortunately, the workload was quite heavy, and the rewards were few and far between.

The year 2020 proved to be one of the most difficult for Welwood. The pandemic forced the shutdown of almost everything. However, despite this chaos, she displayed remarkable motivation to pursue her dreams even after losing her full-time realty job. That singular determination led her to enroll at RCBC, a decision that marked a significant turning point in her life. 

At college, she was awarded a life-changing Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) scholarship. It offered much-needed financial flexibility to complete her studies. Welwood graduated in May 2023. She's currently enrolled in the 3+1 Psychology program. Tears well up in her eyes as she reminisced on that pivotal day. “There were faculty members that supported and believed in me so much. They even encouraged me to go for my doctorate. I’ve never had someone do that for me.” 

As a first-generation student, graduating was a significant milestone-- and for her daughter to witness the moment. “It was an emotional day. My baby was so proud of me, which makes this so special.”