When Dean Lautauscha Davis, EdD, speaks to students who have enrolled in courses at Olive-Harvey College in order to finish high school, her advice comes from many years in the field… and from personal experience.

The Dean of Adult Education at OHC has been in their shoes, leaving Englewood’s Lindblom High School after her sophomore year in order to take care of her newborn son. To finish high school on a more flexible schedule that aligned with her life as a new mom, Davis enrolled in free Adult Education courses at Daley College, which prepared her to earn her GED. That decision also helped put her on a pathway to a career in education—a career that has since brought her back to City Colleges to serve in a leadership position.

At Olive-Harvey, Davis uses the lens of her own experience to advocate for non-traditional students. Becoming a mom of two before her 20th birthday made her realize the importance of offering courses on the weekends, at night, and online, as well as providing independent learning opportunities and more. According to Davis, she’s always trying to “bring the non-9-5 perspective,” understanding that no one size fits all.

To that point, Dean Davis realizes that every Adult Education student’s story is different. Some, like her, are looking to finish high school, while others are hoping to learn English or strengthen their computer skills, among other goals.

And while every journey is unique, Dean Davis’ personal experience of taking courses while juggling parenting and work resonates with many students at OHC. She often shares her story during student orientation, reminding them that they will come across many challenges throughout their education, but they have what it takes to succeed.

From GED to EdD, her message is simple: “If I can do it, you can too.”