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On Friday, December 11, 2020, Amanda Romero graduated with her master’s degree from UNC Greensboro under unique – and impressive – circumstances.
Not only did she complete her degree while working full-time for the Department of Interior Architecture, but she also adopted two children in the process – moving from a family of three to a family of five in less than a year.
“My husband and I were interested in fostering-to-adopt years before, but everything was put on hold when our daughter was suddenly diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2015,” Romero recalled.
After multiple surgeries, medical scans, and a year of chemotherapy and steroids, the family of three moved to Greensboro for a fresh start. Romero returned to higher education after working as a science teacher.
And her family started the process of adopting once again.
“We ended up going from one child to three children in less than ten months!” she said. “Now our family consists of our two nine-year-old daughters and our five-year-old son. People constantly mistake the girls for twins!”
She says the decision to continue her education, even under such demanding circumstances, comes from her background as a Venezuelan immigrant. She came to the United States in the early 1990s. Education was important to her family, and her parents always encouraged her to pursue higher education.
“It is not lost on me that obtaining a graduate degree is difficult for Latinx-es to achieve, so I am humbled to do so.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 10 percent of Latinx students in the U.S. obtain a graduate degree.
Now, armed with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and master’s in Applied Arts and Sciences, Romero plans to pursue a career supporting students through their college journeys, especially minority and first-generation students like herself. She knows that accomplishing such a feat requires a lot of support.
And she is eager to thank those who supported her own journey:
“Thank you to my high school teacher, Mr. Cook, for believing in me. Thank you to the Director of Project Hope, Frederick Morgan, and the Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid, Vanessa Mayse at FSW State College for supporting me through my college career in the early years. Thank you to my husband, Eddie, and my parents, Patricia and Jermyn, for encouraging me. I could not have done it without all of you in my corner.”
Story by Elizabeth Keri, College of Arts & Sciences
Photography courtesy of Amanda Romero