Carrie Cleveland shares her inspiring story in Baltimore Sun Class of 2016 profile

Published: May 18, 2016

(Carrie Cleveland '16, social work. Photo by Marlayna Demond.)

A new article in The Baltimore Sun profiles members of the Class of 2016 from Baltimore-area colleges and universities and their unique journeys toward earning their degrees. Carrie Cleveland ’16, social work, shares her uplifting story in the article and describes how she developed a passion for social work.

Cleveland initially enrolled at Rutgers University, but left after three semesters in 1997 after she decided college wasn’t for her at the time. She moved to Maryland in 2006 and began taking classes at Anne Arundel Community College. The article explains that when her daughter was undergoing a medical evaluation after she was born with a congenital heart defect, Cleveland had such a positive interaction with a hospital social worker that she thought to herself: “I want that job.”

On May 19, Cleveland graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work from UMBC. She explains that the support she received from the UMBC community while working toward earning her degree was tremendous.

“Here I think of myself as a college dropout and this isn’t my place to occupy,” Cleveland said. “But mostly the students are great and have appreciated my experiences and contributions.”

She plans to bring her daughters to her commencement ceremony to inspire them to pursue college degrees, and will begin graduate studies in social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the fall, where she will be doing field work with middle school children with emotional disabilities.

The secret to Cleveland’s success? She says, “It took me finding what my passion was to be able to excel.”

Read the complete article “The unique roads of Baltimore college graduates” on The Baltimore Sun website.

Update: Cleveland’s story has also been featured as part of the #CountAllStudents campaign.

Image: Carrie Cleveland. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC. 

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