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TAMUT Alumna Esther Pippins Awarded Doctoral Fellowship

Esther Pippins, BAAS Graduate

Adviser, BAAS Program

When Esther Pippins agreed to talk to someone at the university about going back to college after a 30 year absence, she really didn't expect much. She was basically trying to appease her daughters who had been pestering her about going back and finishing her degree.
"They kept telling me I needed to go back to school," Pippins said. "They just kept telling me I was smart enough and that I could do it." When she arrived on campus, everything changed. "When I met with Lisa Meyers in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) department, I started to realize that I could do this. Everyone at TAMUT made the transition back into education as easy as could be, and the BASS program fit me very well." Because she had years of work experience in logistics behind her, Pippins was able to complete a portfolio class that awarded her college credit for her work experience.
But as Esther prepared to go back to college, enrolling in classes wasn't her only concern. As a single parent originally from California, Pippins had taken an early retirement and moved to Texarkana to be closer to one of her daughters. Her problem was, she had no place to live. "When I came to campus to talk to them about getting back into school I was living out of my car," Pippins explained. A solution would present itself shortly.
Her daughter was enrolling at A&M-Texarkana as a freshman at the same time, but she was entering college much earlier than most students. She wanted to live in the residence hall, but she was only 16, which would necessitate a family member moving in with her. And that's exactly what happened. Armed with a new found sense of confidence and her daughter as her roommate, Pippins set out to finish something she began 30 years earlier.
In 2015 Pippins graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. She was a part of the University Honors Program and a member of the honor society Alpha Chi. In 2017 she graduated with a master's degree in Adult and Higher Education and was named the Student of the Year in the Adult and Higher Education Program. She completed a second master's degree in English in 2018, and was again named the Student of the Year for her program.
Pippins has several favorite sayings. If you spend any time around her you'll likely hear things like "you can't be what you can't see," and "don't just get an education, get educated." But the one she really seems to personify is "there is no expiration on learning." She puts that saying to use every day as a BAAS tutor in the TAMUT Success Center, and in the class she teaches as an adjunct professor. She's helping what she calls "post-traditional" college students make their way to a college degree, offering her own story as a testimony to the things they can accomplish.
In the fall of 2019 she'll be taking her favorite saying to heart as she moves to San Marcos, Texas to begin work on her PhD in Adult, Professional, and Community Education at Texas State University. She recently found out that she was awarded the Texas State Merit Doctoral Fellowship. Having been nominated by the director of the PhD program, she was awarded one of the fellowships reserved for the top two first-year doctoral students.
During her studies at Texas State Pippins hopes to do extensive research on adult education and the challenges that adult learners face. She hopes to be able to give back and eventually teach and help "post-traditional" students like herself.
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