GRADUATE STUDENT SPOTLIGHT ON CHRISTY CRAWFORD

Christy Crawford

Christy Crawford, a mother of four grown children and grandmother of two, will graduate magna cum laude in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in social work. She will start graduate school this fall in the Master of Counseling program at UA Little Rock. In the future, she would like to work as a licensed professional counselor in Arkansas. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I raised three daughters and a son (mostly as a single parent) who are now grown, and all of them have college degrees. One daughter has her master’s degree in nursing, and another daughter is a teacher in the LRSD, and is also an alumni of UA Little Rock. My son has a degree in construction management, and my youngest daughter will graduate in December with a degree in psychology. My stepson just finished his master’s degree in engineering last May.

While I will always be a mom first, I’m ready to start the career phase of my life. When my children got older, I got back into tennis. That’s where I met my husband for the second time almost eight years ago, and we’ve been happily married for over six years. The first time we met I was a junior tennis player at Southwest Tennis Center, and he was my coach.

Why did you choose UA Little Rock?

After being a realtor for seven years, I wanted to switch to a career in a behavioral health profession. I got a job at the Center for Youth and Families (CYF) after starting in psychology at UA Little Rock. My program manager at CYF suggested the social work program at UA Little Rock. I was accepted into the Social Work program and this is where I completed my minor. After much deliberation, I switched back to psychology this past summer as a college senior.

I applied with an antiquated transcript on cardstock from a little private school that no longer exists. Fortunately, UA Little Rock still had my little high school in their records! When I took the college entrance exam, I tested out of English Composition I and II because I had done a lot of reading and writing as a hobby and even had a couple of articles published.  

I completed my bachelor’s degree at UA Little Rock in 5 ½ years, taking both online and on-campus classes, while balancing work and home life. During this time, three of my grown  children got married, several graduated from college, one started college, and I became a mamaw times two.

Christy Crawford
Christy Crawford

What teachers inspired you?

My math teacher Melissa Hardemann made quantitative math and reasoning fun, and I had not taken math for 30 years since high school. She made it easy to learn new concepts and relearn old ones. Dr. Carol Thompson in Applied Communications and Dr. Heidi Skurat in Rhetoric and Writing were great influences. Dr. Michael Simon, my teacher in abnormal psychology, worked at the state hospital for 30 years and provided lots of hands-on experience. Dr. Elvon Chris Lloyd from the Social Work Department was the ultimate statistics teacher and set me up for success transitioning back to a degree in psychology.  

What advice would you give to future students?

Just get started. People get overwhelmed because they think they can’t get in, can’t pay for it, and then they get discouraged. You may start out and have difficulties because you took too many classes and got overloaded. Don’t give up. Try to find a way. Look for classes that work for you. 

Find positive quotes about education that encourage you. There are so many more opportunities with a college degree. I’ve worked at three different jobs while I was a single mom because I had to make ends meet. I got tired of not having the ability to choose what I wanted to do. That’s why all of my children have college degrees, because they saw their mother struggle. 

What do you plan to do after graduation?

Enjoy my break before I start graduate school in the fall. I have two grandbabies I haven’t been able to hug or hold since mid-March because of COVID-19. Hopefully, this social distancing will taper off so I can hold them again, and we can get together as a family. Right now, I can only wave to them from a distance, and it is very hard. The other day I got a call from my daughter’s phone, and it was my three-year-old granddaughter just wanting to say, “Hey.” That is just the best thing ever!

This story was compiled by Toni Boyer-Stewart.

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