Melissa Rhodes ’10 MEd ’12 calls her journey at Converse a “whirlwind”…and one of the best decisions of her life. She enrolled in the Converse II program; today she is an award-winning drama teacher, novelist and doctoral candidate with her first article due to be published in winter 2017.
The Converse II program is a unique opportunity for women 24 and older to earn their undergraduate degree with discounted tuition, a streamlined application experience and all the academic benefits of traditional undergrads.
The Path to Converse
“My first memory of Converse is from around the time of March 2007. I emailed the director of Converse II asking about the admissions requirements for the program. A mere fifteen minutes later, I received an email with the direction to come to her office that afternoon if I were available. I sheepishly walked into the back entrance of Ezell Hall, where Converse II was originally located, and made my way to her third-floor office. What was originally a simple fact-finding mission turned into an enrollment session which ended with my admission request accepted, transcripts requested, and my first classes selected. I didn’t realize the full ramifications of what I had done, but I remember thinking, ‘I’m starting college in June of 2007.’ It was a complete whirlwind, but it was the most invigorating, life advancing whirlwind I’ve ever experienced. I do not regret even one second of that initial meeting.”
“I am currently in Phase II of my Doctorate of Education with the goal of maybe coming back to my dear Converse as an adjunct or full professor.”
“I went on to graduate cum laude three and a half years later with my Bachelor of Arts in Education, then go on to complete my Master’s of Education in Teaching the Gifted and Talented from Converse as well. I received my first full-time teaching position in December of 2012.
I taught sixth-grade English Language Arts for four years before being asked to take over and revive the Drama department of the school where I teach. I have exceeded the expectations of my administrator and have developed the department into more than he envisioned; even developing a traveling drama competition team who won their first awards in their first year competing.”
Converse Inspires A Writing Career
“I recall one of my first classes being Eng 102-Intro to Literature Types. I had an amazing professor, Jeremy Jones, who did more than just teach a class…he mentored each one of us there. It was there that I found the confidence to take a story based on my three children that I had bounced around in my mind, and with pen and paper, and make it a reality. It was a huge risk with it being a Christian fantasy, but Professor Jones challenged me to continue writing.I did continue writing. On November 28th, 2016, The Book In the Basket went live on Kindle. It is a young adult, Bible-based fantasy novel with a great deal of adventure that I hope will inspire people of all ages.
My first published article will be in the 2017 Winter Issue of Teachers of Vision magazine. This life article gives a unique perspective about how my parenting a son with Non-verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) has positively influenced me as a teacher and how I view and interact with my students.”
The Journey From Student to Teacher
“My mind keeps coming back to Converse. I have so missed my time there that I made a decision to pursue my Doctorate in an area that will take me out of the traditional classroom. I am currently in Phase II of my Doctorate of Education with a focus in Higher Education with the goal of maybe coming back to my dear Converse as an adjunct or full professor.”