Invest In Me

Staying power

Thanks to scholarship support, nontraditional student can remain in college and fulfill her educational dream

Despite growing up in a home where education was not valued or promoted, Glynis Boyd Hughes (B.A.’20/H&S) has always believed in its transformative power.

“I’ve just always seen education as something that can help us create the life that we want if we avail ourselves of it,” she says.

Achieving her academic goals has been a lifelong journey for Hughes. She was a single mom trying to balance school, work and child care when she first enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University in the 1990s. Without a support system, she was forced to drop out to focus on providing for her family. She didn’t resume her studies at VCU until two decades later.

“I’m amazed every day when I think about where I am now,” says Hughes, who at 51 finished her degree in English with a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies.

Scholarships, Hughes says, played a critical role in helping her reach this milestone. In 2018, she found out she had run out of federal aid eligibility. Once again, she was struggling to stay in school, until she received the Jean Roy Riely Scholarship and the Harrell-Benson Scholarship.

“My scholarships enabled me to meet my obligation to VCU and to work fewer hours a week, which gave me more time not only to study but also to be involved in student life and the community,” Hughes says. “The money, of course, was helpful, but to me, getting a scholarship is somebody investing in you because they believe in what education can do. Something like that can make such a difference in someone’s life.”

Hughes plans to pursue a career in higher education so she can be a support and a resource for students, especially for nontraditional students like her.

“My hope is to give back,” she says, “because when someone invests in you, you have a responsibility to help somebody else as well.”