Class of 2019 Success Stories: Graduate candidate takes nontraditional route with unparalleled experiences

Lakeisha Davis recounts her path to a career in education thanks to BGSU

By Rachel Szabo

At 33 years old, with a loving husband and three children at home, Lakeisha Davis is graduating from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor's degree in inclusive early childhood education

Davis did not walk an easy path to college. Only the second of her family to graduate with a college degree, she overcame many struggles to attend BGSU.

Growing up, Davis was raised mostly by her father. She earned her high school degree and went to work right after graduation. Working two jobs to save money for a college degree, Davis learned the value of hard work and dedication.  

It was not until Davis married her husband, Antonio Davis, who has a master's degree in school counseling, that she was able to afford and attend college. 

“I told him of my dreams to further my education and to become a teacher,” she said, “and he supported me in that endeavor.”

Once her children were born, Davis took a few classes at a time through Owens Community College. She also started her own child care from home — something she loved — but she knew she could reach more students. 

Davis earned an associate degree that included an education concentration. From there, she knew she wanted to teach in a full-time classroom setting and it was time to pursue her bachelor’s degree.

“I’ve known since I was a little girl that I wanted to work with young children," she said. "It’s always been a passion of mine, and I knew that BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development was next to none.” 

The college’s dual licensure was a particular attraction to Davis: something that no other college in Ohio offered. She wanted to be a part of it.

Inclusive early childhood graduates provide differentiated, evidence-based instruction to young children from birth through grade 3. The program is committed to the development of partnerships and scholarly endeavors that reflect the University’s professional values of justice, fairness, and equity.  

"It’s always been a passion of mine, and I knew that BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development was next to none.”

Throughout her BGSU career, Davis built her teaching experience, including methods and student teaching at Lake Elementary School in Millbury, Ohio. Placed with a licensed intervention specialist, she worked with kindergarten students in the school’s resource room. 

“I work with students who have multiple disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, emotional disturbances, speech, developmental and visual disabilities and traumatic brain injuries,” she said. “Having this experience will open more opportunities for me to work in a general education setting, an inclusive setting or a special education setting.”

Davis’ hard work was recognized with the University’s Ramona Cormier Nontraditional Scholarship, for two years in a row. This scholarship provides financial support to qualified nontraditional students pursuing their first baccalaureate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. 

The financial assistance has been a tremendous help to her family, taking some of the stress of paying for tuition and books off of her shoulders. 

“Being a scholarship recipient has meant the world to me," she said. "Without the scholarships that donors so generously provided, I doubt I would have been able to go back to college. I hope that someday I can be of help to someone else to achieve his or her dreams of going to college.”

Before she leaves BGSU, she’d like to leave one piece of advice with current and future students. 

“It is much more than a bachelor's degree in education that I’m leaving with," Davis said. "It’s the feeling of accomplishing a lifelong dream that no one believed was possible, even me. Your college experience is what you make it. Enjoy it and take advantage of every opportunity.”