Friday, June 6, 2014

United in education: Peirce students and married couple Anthony and Natasha Williams earn their degrees together

Natasha Williams will cross the stage
together on June 9.
Natasha and Anthony Williams met getting their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certifications at  a local nursing home in 1999. They have been together for 15 years and married for nine. During that time, they have each taken on many roles: Nurse, soldier, parent, partner, husband, wife, and more. At next week’s Commencement ceremony, they will mark another achievement by earning Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration.

After attending West Philadelphia High School, Anthony joined the workforce and took classes in computer science until getting into the nursing field in 1999. In 2004, he joined the Army National Guard and he still serves currently.

 Natasha attended John Bartram High School where she studied in the health and fitness program.  This inspired her to focus on nursing after high school. Then, in 1999, she began working and pursuing the CNA certification at the same nursing home where Anthony was receiving his CNA training. The two met and the rest was history!

Over the years, the couple became the proud parents of three children: two boys and one girl. In 2003, during one of her pregnancies, Natasha was sidelined with a blood clot and she had to put her nursing career on hold.

The couple worked together to make sure everything ran smoothly during Natasha’s illness and Anthony’s transition into the military. Then, in 2007, they decided it was time to tackle their next challenge – going back to school. Four years later, in May 2011, the couple earned Associate degrees together from the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. Soon thereafter, Anthony and Natasha noticed advertisements for Peirce, and enrolled that July in the College’s Business Administration program.

During his academic career at Peirce, Anthony was deployed with the Army National Guard to Kuwait. He continued classes online while deployed, allowing him to graduate this June with his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Throughout their time at Peirce, the couple kept their grades up by taking the same courses and engaging in friendly scholastic competition.

The combination of this couple’s hard work, the support of the Peirce Community, and their strong relationship has been a recipe for success for Anthony and Natasha. “No challenge was too big for us to conquer,” says Natasha. “An example of overcoming a challenge for me was statistics – I didn’t like statistics, but I never had that challenge in my life before. So being able to overcome that made me tell myself, ‘Look what you can accomplish!’”

Both husband and wife are now pursuing management roles thanks to their degrees. Anthony is a lead caregiver & supervisor at University of Pennsylvania Life and Natasha has taken a position as a literary support teacher at the Mastery Charter School, Hardy Williams Academy. 

The two have nothing but encouragement to offer other couples trying to balance work, school, and family life. “Go ahead and do it,” Anthony says. “It’s a challenge, but you have each other. And if you can’t attend school together, support one another when the time comes for one of you to go back to earn your degree.”

On June 9, Anthony and Natasha will walk across the stage together and receive their Bachelor’s degrees – and we could not be more proud! Thank you for sharing your story, Anthony and Natasha!