After seven years of hard work, Shirley completed her associate degree in general studies from Malcolm X College in May of 2017. It was Shirley’s daughter who urged her to go back to school, but it was Shirley—at 60 years young—who made it happen.

Shirley largely credits the TRiO program, a service designed to assist first-generation, low-income, and disabled college students, for her success, and notes that academic advising played a big part as well. Her journey wasn’t always smooth, but with the help of librarians and the Academic Support Center, Shirley pushed on. She had trouble with math, biology and computer classes when she started, but she wasn’t going to let that get in her way. She worked hard and reached her goal.

Next up for Shirley is likely the community health care worker certification program at Malcolm X. She’ll also use the business skills she learned in college to enhance her nutritional products and services business.