Graduate Spotlight: Cynthia Greenwood

cindy-greenwood-fullAs a single mother, full-time employee and Grantham University graduate, Cynthia Greenwood is all too familiar with having to overcome obstacles in order to achieve her goals. 

After making the decision to return to college, Cindy conducted extensive research on what school to attend and what major would be best for her future goals.  As the Finance Director for a remote Arizona mountain community, she felt as if there was something more out there for her.  “I was good at my job, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t LOVE it”, she said.  In the end, Cindy decided on a discipline that she was passionate about – Computer Science.

When she first began her classes at Grantham University in 1998, Cindy was a wife, a mother and used an education assistance program available through her employer to pay for tuition.  But over time, things changed. Cindy became a single parent, had to fully finance her education on her own, and soon thereafter was laid off from her job of 18 years.  “This is when I felt I could and needed to kick it into high gear with my studies,” she said.  Her children were her number one priority, followed by work and school.  In order to accomplish everything on her plate, anything not related to her top three priorities was put on the back burner until the breaks between classes. 

With some careful pre-planning, Cindy was able to be active in her children’s lives and didn’t miss an extracurricular event; she even made time to help fellow students with their programming language classes.  “When I could, I would ride with another parent and take my books, so I could study on the road,” she said.  In order to save time, Cindy cooked in bulk and froze meals, completed chores during breaks between classes and worked through the night on many occasions in order to complete her assignments.  She said, “It was all about setting priorities, time management, and focus.  Anything that wasn’t necessary for my boys, work, or classes didn’t get done, and those three priority items had a ‘failure not allowed’ clause attached to them.” 

In March 2009, Cindy realized her goal by graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.  Now, Cindy is looking forward to what the future will bring.  She and her children have lived in their small, rural town for 23 years.  “My degree is my ticket out of this area,” she said.  With her boys on their own, one son is enrolled at Arizona State University pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering and her other son is a certified welder who recently enlisted in the Army, and her degree complete, she is looking for a job in an area that has “cultural activities that aren’t hours away, a change of seasons, and is near a large body of water.” 

With enthusiasm and an optimistic attitude, Cindy continues to travel the path for success.  When faced with barriers in the road, she is not afraid to pull over and ask for directions.  “My advice to students would be to ask for help because you are not alone,” she said.  “The saying goes, the only stupid question is the one not asked, and I believe that!”

Once Cindy relocates and settles down, she plans to continue her education by earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification and enrolling in a master’s program.