As the College prepares to send the Class of 2019 across the Cistern Yard May 10-11, The College Today will highlight how some of our graduating seniors spent their time at CofC, and what the future holds.

Military veteran, wife and mother of two – LaTosha Andrade leads a full life. That’s why it’s impressive that several years ago – after a five-year stint as a medical technician in the Air Force, and three more as an employee with the Department of Homeland Security, she opted to go back to school and get a bachelor’s degree in professional studies.

Andrade chose to enroll in the College’s School of Professional Studies for a number of reasons. She says the convenience of the school’s evening classes and online, distance-learning options were primary factors. She says that the program also offered the exact courses she needed to further her career.

“It’s a huge commitment as an adult to return to school,” she explains, “and one that requires a lot of discipline, yet it’s so worthwhile.”

LaTosha Andrade

When Andrade walks across the Cistern later this week at Commencement, she’ll be graduating with a concentration in organizational leadership and management.

“I knew having management and leadership skills would be important for my career,” she says. “And just having that support system of professors, administrators and advisors at the School of Professional Studies who are there for you nonstop no matter what your needs, that’s been pivotal for me.”

As a nontraditional student, Andrade didn’t just take courses, she invested herself in numerous co-curricular opportunities as well. She participated in programs with the Higdon Center for Student Leadership and Fraternity and Sorority Life to hone her leadership skills. And she endured a rigorous interview process, applying herself diligently to be chosen as a Stuart Williams Impact Scholar.

Only exceptional undergraduate students have the opportunity to be named an Impact Scholar, a program within the School of Business that fosters professional development for highly motivated students by providing them with challenging extracurricular opportunities in the business community. The program’s objective is to provide students the guidance, resources and network necessary to enable them to tackle some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Andrade was one of the program’s seven inaugural scholars – chosen out of 80 applicants.

She says she hopes to leverage that experience and establish a new kind of educational environment for preschool and primary school students. Her intent is to change the way the educational system is structured so that children can be challenged in a way that augments their intellectual capacities.

“I have two children of my own who think, learn and grow very differently from one another,” Andrade says, “and that has made a significant impact on the passion I hold for revolutionizing the education system. Being part of the Stuart Williams Impact Scholars program, I was able to identify my true passions and purpose in life. The program offered me the opportunity to network and connect locally and globally with various professionals in the field of education. I have gained a new perspective and a greater level of appreciation and hope for humanity. My ultimate dream is to one day wake up and live in a world where all children receive the same quality education and opportunities to help them live a more successful life.”

Andrade plans to pursue a master’s degree and ultimately a doctorate in organizational leadership with a focus on educational leadership and child/adolescent psychology.

“Accomplishing that educational journey,” she says, “will help me achieve my long-term goal of establishing my very own school that cultivates a love of learning and provides all children an opportunity to explore their creativity and purpose in life.”