Single mother of three and Dean’s List student earns bachelor’s degree, plans to return for master’s

Mandy Wright and her children Khloe (6), Jaxon (8) and Payton (14)

Finishing a bachelor's degree and preparing to apply for a master's is no easy task. Add in being a single mother of three, and the challenge could seem overwhelming. Do it all while making the Dean's List every semester, and you have a student like Mandy Wright ('14), a recent graduate of the Development and Family Studies program in the department of Educational Psychology at the College of Education.

"My challenges that I have faced over the last four years are just learning how to get back into the swing of academics again. I loved school while I was in high school and I really enjoyed my first year of college after high school...Trying to fit in was a challenge to me because most of my professors were the same age as me, but after the first year, I didn't seem to mind anymore and have gained wonderful relationships with all of my professors," Wright said, later explaining that having younger siblings around the age of her classmates had helped her adjust.

During her first semester back, she attended as a part time student testing the waters with two classes.

"I wanted to slowly get myself back in. I don't tend to jump headfirst, I stick my toe in...after I made straight A's that way, I kind of worked my way up. So I took six hours, to nine hours, to ohh, let's go fifteen!" she said with a laugh.

Wright took a few courses online, but even during the early semesters, she took at least one class in person so she could be around peers and professors in the classroom. But it was her family that motivated her to succeed, "Showing my children that at whatever age you are, you can still work hard to master a dream!"

"After my first year, I had to really become creative with my schedule because I took a full load of classes and I still had a three year old at home," Wright said. "Let's just say, I am now a night owl and some of my best work came out of my brain around midnight."

After graduating cum laude last May, Wright was hired as a Patient Care Coordinator at Cardinal Health. In fall 2015, she plans to enter the Department of Educational Psychology's graduate program in Special Education with a concentration of Educational Diagnostician.

Wright hopes to become a special needs advocate or a parent/maternity educator so that she can help bridge the gap for parents with special needs children who don't know what their or their children's rights are. Knowing what it's like to have a child with ADHD and learning disabilities, she wants to help others who face the challenges that she went through.

"As a parent, there were many times that I wished that I had had someone help me understand certain things about being a parent or at least what to expect. I hope one day I can become an educational diagnostician through my master's degree."

Learn more about our degree programs and certifications in the department of Educational Psychology.

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By Jessie Laljer, UNT's College of Education Development and External Relations Office
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