Shelton Uses College Degree to Become Positive Influence for Her Family

Karen Shelton, 48, of Durham used to think her eldest son, Aren, was on the wrong path. “There was a time when I felt I was losing him to peer pressure. I had to become involved on his level because my youngest son, Jaren, looked up to him. He complained that school was hard and dared me to go back, so returning to school was the challenge.” Shelton began attending University of Mount Olive at RTP to show her sons that all things are possible through faith, determination and hard work. She graduated on December 8th having shown that and much more. “University of Mount Olive at RTP helped me grow into the woman I am today—a caring and loving mother, a law-abiding, responsible citizen and a loyal, supportive team player in the work environment.”
University of Mount Olive’s catchphrase immediately drew Shelton towards the school. “I visited the website and the motto ‘transforming education, transforming lives’ captured my attention, because of my love for butterflies which symbolize change. I wanted to transform my education and my life.  Also my interest grew upon learning MOC offered small classes in a friendly Christian environment.”
Shelton, a single parent, enrolled in the one-night-a-week accelerated Management and Organizational Development program at University of Mount Olive RTP while working to support her family. It was challenging to attend school with two children, but Shelton kept herself and her boys focused as they studied at the table every night. “Studying together definitely brought us closer. We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses in certain subject areas and shared our views. This allowed us to balance our time and focus on other activities together as a family.” When things got tough, Shelton’s sons encouraged her to keep moving forward. “Each time I felt I had hit a brick wall and just could not think, they would say, ‘Mom, you can do it.’”
Now that she has accomplished her goal, Shelton is thinking of attending graduate school in the future. In the meantime, she is enjoying her achievement with her family. “I celebrated with my youngest son following graduation, and texted my oldest son a photo of me in my cap and gown. He is a freshman at Elizabeth City State University!”
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