Student Spotlight: Kenyatta Robertson

Kenyatta Robertson’s Inspirational, Indomitable Spirit

By Cheryl Balassone |   October 2010

Kenyatta Robertson , Student

Being a military spouse has its share of challenges. Frequent moves and unpredictable schedules are the norm. But somehow Kenyatta Robertson—a military wife, mother of four, and UMUC graduate school honors student—makes it look easy.

Kenyatta learned about UMUC in 2002 when her husband, a Sergeant First Class in the Army, was about to transfer from South Carolina to Maryland. She was actively working toward her undergraduate degree at another institution, but knew that she’d need to transfer. That’s when she found UMUC. Says Kenyatta, “I chose UMUC because of the variety of programs that offered both face-to-face and online options. I believed that the online classes were what I needed to be able to complete my BS degree due to the unpredictable nature of the military. And that proved to be right!”

When she enrolled at UMUC, Kenyatta’s schedule was already hectic. Aside from the recent move, she was caring for two young sons with special needs. During the course of her UMUC undergraduate studies, she gave birth to two more sons, one of whom was born just a month prior to the completion of her degree. Despite the many challenges she faced, Kenyatta was awarded partial scholarships, was accepted into the National Scholars Honor Society, maintained a 3.1 grade point average, and graduated in May 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science and a minor in Business Administration.

While completing her undergraduate degree, the stay-at-home mother of four says her fondness for children and desire to be a positive influence led her to her true passion: childhood education. “The impact that I made in the lives of my own children, while reinforcing what they learned in the classroom and watching them thrive as a result of that extra time and support, confirmed that I am a true educator at heart,” she says.

Today, she is pursuing her Master of Education in Instructional Technology at UMUC, and anticipates graduating in May 2010. She plans to obtain her teacher certification in Early Childhood Special Education and then acquire her National Board Certification. The family has moved again—this time to Atlanta—but Kenyatta happily reports that UMUC’s flexible structure has allowed her to continue her studies without interruption. In fact, she currently holds a 4.0 grade point average.

Kenyatta has high praise for UMUC, crediting caring professors and convenient online programs for much of her educational success. But her positive outlook and determination can’t be overlooked. Kenyatta’s days are long and busy, typically starting at 5 a.m. and not ending until 11 p.m. or later. “Caring for four children is quite a challenge,” she notes. “But I know that the biggest impact on them is having effective parents who can maintain a positive environment despite all of the responsibilities.” Kenyatta spends a lot of time with her children, giving them plenty of attention and helping them with their studies. She says it’s paying off, because the eldest two, who are both in school, are excelling despite their disabilities.

Kenyatta views her busy life as an adventure and thrives on its challenges, as well as on setting and achieving goals. Spending 15 to 18 hours per week studying, usually at night and on weekends, she rarely gets a moment to herself. “What keeps me going is knowing that my graduation day is coming, and that feeling of satisfaction I get from being able to do it,” says Kenyatta. “I am working in a field that’s my passion, so the effort is not a hindrance to me. I have a clear vision of achieving my goal of being an educator, and making a difference in the lives of the children I will teach.”