Lowe Turns Struggles into Success at UMO

Lowe Turns Struggles into Success at UMO

NEW BERN- Nadia Lowe was 13 when she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the attack of healthy tissue. The diagnosis completely changed her life, but she never lost her faith and has overcome countless struggles on her way to achieving a college degree.

Lowe constantly received treatments during her teenage years. She faced homebound schooling programs during middle and high school, but, despite the hardships, Lowe graduated from high school and began her college education at Carteret Community College (CCC).

After completing a few classes, Lowe also began substitute teaching at local elementary schools. However, Lowe put her college education on hold when she married Terry Lowe II and had three children, Tyler, Savannah, and Alex. Lowe felt blessed to be the mother of three beautiful children and was excited to return to school. Then tragedy struck again for Lowe’s family.

“When my youngest son Alex turned two, he began to have a number of health issues. He was having repeated seizures, which led to detection of a neurological disorder,” explained Lowe. “After many tests, we learned that the white matter in his brain was disappearing. As he grew older, he was non-verbal and struggled to communicate. He received a number of therapies, including speech, physical, occupational, and sensory therapies. As a result of taking care of his needs, finishing my education was not an option.”

When Alex began preschool, Lowe returned to substitute teaching and was able to help her son while he was at school. Lowe also returned CCC and pursued online courses.

Then Lowe was offered a job at the same elementary school that her son attended. “I began working at Newport Elementary School as an assistant, and my son was placed in the kindergarten classroom across the hall for convenience. My son struggled with many things, and I was available for assistance because I was already at the school. This was an answer to a prayer,” said Lowe.

Lowe continued working at the elementary school, continued classes at CCC, and eventually received her associate’s degree. Unfortunately, things began to spin out of control again for Lowe. The school system had major budget cuts, and Lowe was laid off from her job.

“Things were difficult and very challenging. My husband worked his job and several part-time jobs to provide for the family. I struggled with what to do with myself,” admitted Lowe. “My Lupus was active and I was undergoing treatments. Then, one day it finally hit me. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to get a job that would help other children and families that have struggles like my youngest son.”

Just as Lowe thought she had her future plans figured out, she was offered to return to her job in the pre-kindergarten classroom. She decided that her family’s best interest had to come first and returned to Newport Elementary, but her goal of achieving a bachelor’s degree stuck with her.

“Then I learned about the program for working adults through UMO,” said Lowe. “I heard about it on the radio, but I never paid it any mind. I couldn’t believe that I could go one night a week and still earn a degree. I realized that everything I wanted to do could be done by taking classes at UMO in the early childhood education program.”

Lowe enrolled at UMO in the fall of 2013. The ECE program perfectly fit with Lowe’s desires by providing her with knowledge in child development and hands-on experiences in the classroom.

“My college journey has not been easy, but I have finally made it,” smiled Lowe. “I have had a lot of ups and downs since I started classes two years ago. My Lupus has been active, I hold a fulltime job, and I’m a wife and a mother. However, I have still managed to finish what I started.”

At age 38, Lowe is eagerly anticipating August 29, when she will walk across the stage at the University of Mount Olive and receive her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.   “UMO has made graduating with a four year degree a reality and has helped me show my children that all dreams are possible!”

Lowe has accepted a position with Craven Smart Start as their “Raising a Reader” Coordinator.  She resides in Newport with her husband and three children.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit old.umo.edu.

Nadia is pictured with her husband Terry and children Alex (left front), Savannah, and Tyler (right back)