Danielle Roberts Perseveres
On her fourth try at college, Danielle Roberts got it right.
The 39-year-old mother of six completed an associate degree in Human Services at North Central State College.
“Prior to coming here, I attended college three times. But life got in the way and I never completed a program,” she said.
A Barberton High School graduate, Roberts first studied medical assisting in southern Ohio. Next, she started a social work degree at a northeast Ohio college, followed by a criminal justice degree at an online institution. Life moved on, babies arrived and she wasn’t sure if she would ever complete a degree.
But since March 2012, the Wooster resident has been commuting 45 minutes in pursuit of her NC State associate’s degree.
“Living in Wooster, I never knew this college existed,” she said. “I sold cars and was quite good. But I sustained an injury and was off work. I got a letter from the Job and Family Services saying I could go back to school. I did some online searching and came upon the NC State website. I made some phone calls and got good feelings about coming here.”
“I’ve always been a helper,” she said. “I realized the things I want to do I can do through Human Services.”
Instead of frustration, Roberts said she found success in NC State classes.
“The classes here have been awesome. I started out only taking three classes. Everything went smoothly with no conflicts. It was easy to get assistance if I needed it and I was able to organize my time. I ended up on the dean’s list and applied to Phi Theta Kappa (honor society),” she said. “I met people on campus and found they were all here to help the students.”
Roberts continued to meet people and quickly became involved in campus life outside the classroom. She served as vice president of scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa and was elected president of Student Government. “I went to the college board meetings and gave updates on Student Government and advocated for the students,” she said.
“Everyone is so welcoming here. Even the president, Dr. (Dorey) Diab, has an open door policy and will speak to students. So many students are shy, but I tell them the faculty and staff members are here for them.”
Roberts was selected by the NC State Foundation as the recipient of the Russell and Mary Gimbel Foundation Scholarship. “That has been wonderful,” she said. “I tell students to apply for as many scholarships as they can.
“I want to specialize in chemical dependency. Unfortunately, chemical dependency has touched my family and friends. I believe family members of those who are users need to receive more support. No one is assisting the family in how to treat their family member.”
When Roberts was recognized at the recent NC State Foundation Scholarship Luncheon, she was introduced by Shelby Mayor Marilyn John. “That was amazing. Here I was being introduced by a mayor. Then I found out she was an NC State graduate,” she said. “There are so many people around this part of Ohio who are alumni and would like to help students. That’s what I want to be able to do: give back to help students achieve their dreams like others did for me.”