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Working mom wins college scholarship for Christmas

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Darlene Brown is getting a Masters degree in Education with a full-tuition scholarship

By Natasha Colbaugh

Five children and 26 years later, Darlene Brown of LaFollette is furthering her education. The decision to go back to school was difficult, she said. But Project Working Mom made it possible.

The Project Working Mom scholarship program, developed by eLearners.com, held an essay contest from the web resource of Education Dynamics. Working moms or dads who wanted to earn an online degree could apply.

Brown’s essay was chosen from 12,000 applicants who submitted essays about furthering their education. Ashford University awarded 10 full-tuition scholarships nationwide.

“It’s very exciting,” said Brown. “I thought it was a prank call when they called me.”

Brown became a registered nurse in 1985 when she had two small children. She has been working in the nursing field for 22 years.

“What started as a means to survive financially has grown to become a huge part of my existence,” said Brown in her admittance essay. “Nursing is no longer what I do but rather, has become who I am.”

Though Brown always told herself she would go back to school when her children were old enough, it wasn’t until recently that she thought it would be possible.

Brown’s daughter was taking online classes with three small children. Brown was convinced it was time to return to school after watching her daughter in a flexible online learning environment.

She is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in health care administration. She plans to start classes toward her Masters in Education degree in January.

“This is an awesome opportunity,” said Brown about being able to be a teacher. “I have made a circle back to what I wanted to do in the first place.”

With her youngest child in middle school, Brown is ready to get her masters and teach in the health field.

“I taught a CNA class and really enjoyed it,” said Brown. “I had a student that was really thankful. It made me want to pursue a teaching degree.”

The Master’s program is an aggressive study of one class every six weeks, said Brown.

“I always said I’d go back to school but life has a way of happening,” said Brown. “This program makes it doable.”

Ashford University is one of eight accredited online institutions donating more than 280 full-tuition scholarships,” said Account Executive of Mullen Public Relations Erin Vredevoogd.

The scholarships are worth close to $5 million combined for the Project Working Mom campaign in 2010.