Tamalyn Ramsey’16 is a technology director for a global nonprofit, and a busy mother of two teenage sons. Two years ago, she graduated from Evergreen with her much-anticipated bachelor’s degree—one she attempted to get several other times, including through online universities.
“For 20 years I had no answer to the questions, ‘Where did you go to school?’ or ‘Is your degree in Business?’ Questions that for years wore away at my identity as a person,” she said. “Now, I have found my footing, my confidence, and my identity. I lead a team with the skills to serve them in their professional and personal growth journeys. And, I see a future for myself that is everything I ever wanted.”
Ramsey started her Evergreen journey by attending an informational meeting about Evening and Weekend Studies (EWS). Intrigued but doubting her ability to finish, she concluded that her life was too busy for school.
But a few weeks later, in a chance encounter at a local gym with EWS Faculty Member Sarah Ryan, Ramsey felt that spark to earn her degree return.
“Sarah remembered me from the meeting and asked if I was going to enroll,” Ramsey recalled. “And I said ‘No, I don’t think I can right now… I don’t want to set myself up for failure.’ But as I’m leaving the locker room, Sarah said, ‘You know, you can do this.’”
Those four words—you can do this—tugged on Ramsey’s soul.
“I thought, she doesn’t even know me, why does she even care? That’s such a big part of the difference between Evergreen and other schools. It didn’t feel like she was saying that because she needed another enrollment number, it felt authentic,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey registered for a program as a Special Student during the summer, and tested the waters at Evergreen. Ramsey was impressed by the faculty’s personal investment in their students’ lives.
“These people have real-world experience, coupled expertly with academic theory, which is brought into the teaching. And I think, especially for an adult student, that’s very significant,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey also took advantage of Evergreen’s Prior Learning from Experience (PLE) program, which takes place in the evenings and grants up to 30 credits for demonstrating college-level learning through professional and community-based experience.
The PLE prerequisite course, Writing from Life, with faculty member Nancy Parkes, teaches students to research and report on how their life experience correlates to college-level learning. For Ramsey, it was challenging, but she quickly recognized the value of self-exploration.
“PLE gives credibility to people’s identities,” she said. “It’s a program that lets you really explore what you know, and how you learned it. Every working adult who doesn’t have a degree should be enrolled in PLE.”