July 7, 2024 at 9:20 a.m.
Graduation 2024

Kayla Hicks Among Gaston College Grads

Another dual-enrollment success story
Kayla Hicks
Kayla Hicks
(Photo Courtesy Gaston College)

DALLAS––Hers is a story of dual-enrollment success.

She is Kayla Hicks, and she is among the recent graduates of Gaston College. Hicks earned an associate’s degree in business administration. And as a dual-enrollment student, she will earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University in December.

This is an impressive achievement on its own. But the fact that Hicks is also a wife, the mother of two young children, the primary caretaker for a sister with disabilities and works from home as an account development representative makes it even more remarkable.

Hicks struggled with determining a career path, so she reached out to the advisers at Gaston College. They helped her narrow down the options. She took their recommendation to enroll in the business administration/human resources pathway.

“This was especially appealing to me,” said Hicks. “It is a very broad program that can be used in various careers, including team leadership roles, management, payroll, account manager, etc.”

Within a month after starting at Gaston College in the summer of 2022, Hicks discovered she was pregnant with her second child. She did not let that stop her, and she grew to love the program she was in, because she wanted to earn a degree that ensured open career options. After graduation by both colleges, she intends to continue at Arizona State to earn a master’s degree. She expects to determine her ultimate career goals through her studies or as she begins working in various capacities. 

Juggling her personal, school and work commitments and overcoming obstacles she has faced has been challenging. But the courses she has taken have helped teach Hicks how to succeed.

“Life is tough,” she said, “and I certainly have experienced that. Through communication courses, I learned to communicate more effectively, and that has helped me resolve conflicts that may arise. I also learned how to manage my time more effectively and compartmentalize my life.”

From helping her choose the program of study that was a good fit for her to working with her when her high-risk pregnancy interfered with the on-time completion of course assignments, Gaston College has supported Hicks all the way.

“I have had excellent teachers,” she said, “who have helped me when life went off-track and who have gone above and beyond for me.”

Hicks has learned that, no matter how busy or difficult life can get, just one college course a semester can make a difference. And when she hears her 8-year-old son say that he wants to be a college student just like his mom, all the effort and struggles are worth it.



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