By Breanne Pittman
Louisiana Tech Nutrition and Dietetics student is on the road to graduation despite roadblocks and disappointments.
Ashley Peters shares many titles including wife, daughter, mother and on May 21, she will add Louisiana Tech alumni to the list.
Upon graduation, Peters will begin an Nutrition and Dietetics Masters and internship at the Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
Though the pieces are coming together, Peters’ college journey has been one of resilience, discipline and the desire to never give up.
“I always wanted to go to college right out of high school, but my mom needed me financially,” Peters said. “I tried to balance college courses along with working a full-time job and taking care of my siblings, but I was unable to balance it all. My mom needed me more, so I had to drop out.”
Though the decision to drop out was not easy, Peters knew she would end up back to further her education one day. After meeting a mentor and finding a career path, Peters knew it was time to go back to school to pursue her calling.
“As I reached my mid-20s, I got married and had a little girl, and we traveled all around the United States when we finally settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” Peters said. “I crossed paths with a woman who is a registered dietitian and a professor for undergraduate and graduate course through her local University in Maine, and she explained what the profession was all about.”
After hearing her now-mentor explain the ins and outs of dietetics, Peters finally found her opportunity to make going back to school a reality. Peters applied to the local college in Butler, Pennsylvania, and as she went through her first semester, she realized that she was going to have to put her head down, work hard, and jump at opportunities to set herself apart from her younger classmates.
“It was a strange feeling of emotions of being proud to go back to school but also wishing my life was like my classmates who were able to do this right out of highschool,” Peters said.
Through navigating the emotions of being a nontraditional student, Peters finished her associates degree, and that is when Peters and her husband decided it was time to move back home to Louisiana.
“I began my next journey at Louisiana Tech University in the nutrition and dietetics program,” Peters said. “As I started at Tech, I remember being told that I had a long way to go to get all of the needed material to finish in two years.”
After transferring, Peters navigated a lot of defeat as many of her credits did not apply to her degree or equal Tech’s credits. In order to get where she wanted to be, Peters simultaneously took courses through Louisiana Delta Community College to get on track to finishing in two years.
“One day I walked into my adviser’s office, Dr. Camel, with my transcript of completed courses and she was pretty impressed,” Peters said. It was the first time that I think she saw me as being serious about finishing my degree; she asked me what pushes me everyday to do this, and my answer was my daughter.”
Now that graduation is here for Peters, she gives credit to God, her family and friends for being her encouragers and picking her up when she felt as though she was falling short.
“As I go forward, I hope to not only tell my daughter to follow her dreams, but to also be an example of someone who fought against all odds,” Peters said. “I also look forward to bringing awareness to my profession. My strength was found in the midst of challenges and struggles, and I am forever grateful for the life that was given to me.”
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