Life “Spills” Over into Education for Roberts

WILMINGTON- College students are notorious for their ability to juggle multiple projects.  Few however, find themselves in the effort to clean up one of the biggest oil spills in world history.

Just two classes shy of her bachelor’s degree from University of Mount Olive at Wilmington, Roberts was deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to assist with the cleanup effort of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Determined to complete her degree, she signed up for online classes.  Much to her chagrin, the internet service did not work at her reported duty station.  A marine science technician and petty officer with the United State Coast Guard Reserve, Roberts did not let the setback dissuade her.  On her days off Roberts traveled more than an hour to complete her homework assignments.

“It has been very hard finishing my degree due to the long work hours, the remote location, and having to move to various sites,” Roberts said of completing her degree. “Despite some bumps along the way, I was able to complete my last online classes, and I can’t wait to get my degree.”

Roberts returned from active duty on April 17 and looks forward to receiving her degree this Saturday, May 7.

Her advice to other college students is, “set your goals and work at achieving them. If along the way you have events that delay you from completing a class don’t get discouraged. If it takes you a little longer to complete it, that’s ok. You are on your way.  Don’t give up.”

Because of situations like deployment, Roberts is reminded why she chose University of Mount Olive.

“The option of being able to take classes in a classroom setting or online was an option I liked. University of Mount Olive caterers to students like me – students with full time jobs, families, and other responsibilities.”

Speaking of her motivation, Roberts expressed, “A college degree is not only beneficial but a necessity in order to compete with others in the work force. In this day and age it is difficult to achieve the position you desire or to move up without a college degree. I also want to show my children that an education is important. But most of all, I wanted to do it for myself”

After graduation, Roberts looks forward to spending time with her family and returning to her job with the New Hanover County Government.  In June she will begin pursuing her master’s degree in environmental policy and management. Roberts has three children William, Melinda, and Jonathan and two grandchildren.

University of Mount Olive will graduate approximately 350 students at its 57th spring Commencement set for Saturday, May 7, at 2:00 PM in Kornegay Arena on the campus of University of Mount Olive.

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit