Mary Ann Shallcross, EdD, CEO
Most people know me as Dr Day Care. As of January 2009 my newest role is RI State House Representative for District 46, Lincoln and Pawtucket RI. It's been a long and exciting journey. In the late 1980s the University of Rhode Island was a life saver. I was a young wife and mother of two young children who had ten years invested in an established home-based child care business. I wanted to obtain my Bachelor's degree to compliment the Associate degree I earned from CCRI in 1982. While interviewing four-year colleges, it was suggested I close my home day business until I had completed my education. Some College personnel took the position that if my college education was important to me, I should leave my work, go to school and return to work after graduation. As much as I desired a Bachelor's degree, closing my child care business was not an option.
A friend suggested I contact folks at the University of Rhode Island Providence Campus, which at that time I did not even know existed. I took her suggestion and after the Continuing Education program was explained to me, it was clear that as a returning student and business woman, the program completely fit my life style. It was the answer I was looking for! I immediately enrolled. It was the perfect place for a working mom.
completed my Bachelors degree in 1985 and used it as a
stepping stone to going on for my Master's degree and eventually
a Doctorate degree in education. URI understood the needs
of working students and supported my goal to continue my
education and follow my dreams! Today I am married, a mother
of three adults, grandmother of three children and CEO
of a growing child care company. I travel all over the
world visiting schools, child care facilities and observing
child development and parent interactions. Life is wonderful.
I remember the first time I walked into CCE - then on Promenade Street
where the Providence Place Mall is today. I remember the first person
I spoke with. I wasn’t a typical student for URI Providence. I was
a traditional-age college student considering enrollment at a campus of
primarily adult learners. However, two things stand out in my mind as
reasons I decided to invest in my future at URI Providence. First, it
was an overwhelming sense that this was an institution dedicated to the
success of its students. And second, the students themselves were there
because they really wanted to be. People often talk about the sense of
family at URI Providence. I think it’s because it fosters a culture
from top to bottom where everyone - students, faculty and staff – are
invested in each other’s success. I have very fond memories of that
time of development in my life.
It had been more than twenty five years since I last attempted to obtain a college degree when I finally got the courage to go back to school in 2002. I was fearful and uncomfortable with the idea of probably being the oldest student in the class. That could not have been further from the truth. URI's Providence Campus was the ideal place to jump-start my college education. The student and faculty population at the downtown campus was and continues to be culturally diverse and spans a wide age range. With the support of advisors, faculty and fellow classmates (young and old), I graduated in 2008. I feel very passionate about my role of combating discrimination as the Fair Housing Project Director for the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. With a college degree, opportunities for advancing my career are being presented to me. My financial future is looking a lot more promising.
As a single mother of two, I was convinced that I would never have
the time, energy or support needed to return to school full-time.
Encouraged by family and friends, I applied to the URI Feinstein Providence
Campus. Buoyed by tremendous support from faculty, staff, and friends,
I earned my B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a 3.97
GPA, and won numerous commendations and awards. Everything about this
campus, from the building set-up to class schedules and support staff
is designed help students succeed. I am now in a Masters program here
at Feinstein CCE and am looking forward to the future with confidence
Thanks to URI Providence, I now have a job that I call my “dream job”. I can’t wait to get to work in the morning and my co-workers practically have to tell me when the day is over. How many people can say that about their job?
The URI Providence Campus Bio-Tech Program required a lot of personal sacrifice given the course schedule and workload. It left very little time for much else, like holding a job or routine family and household chores. The burden was lightened because of the support, knowledge and wisdom imparted by the URI staff and faculty.
The education does not stop at the classroom however;
everyday I have the wonderful experience of working
with some of the most brilliant minds in the world
and the best part, they are rightfully proud to share
their knowledge. I owe it all to URI.
Doris J. Wigginton
URI has inspired me to foster my growth by exploring my potential and building on my foundation. As an older student, it gives me great pleasure to advocate to both young and old that it is never too late to achieve ones goals, and to inspire those that doubt they can make it to give it a try.