by Bryan Lindenberger

Changing professions mid-career is always challenging.

For Sunday Holland Lovvorn, the University of West Georgia provided not only the tools she needed to make a change, but also a fresh start on a bold, new journey.

Sunday Lovvorn“Working as a tax processor was financially rewarding,” Lovvorn recalled of the position she’d worked to achieve after years of bookkeeping and accounts. “Plus, the seasonal nature of the job in corporate tax returns provided for a flexible schedule.”

Lovvorn considers herself a strong balance of both right-brain and left-brain attributes and interests. She is equally interested in both analytic and artistic pursuits. While she missed the creative writing opportunities present in her high school days, she felt comfortable and satisfied in her role with the CPA’s office.

Then, in 2008, the stock market crashed. Many corporations, jobs and homes went down along with it. Not only did Lovvorn find herself with too little business, but her husband – who worked in construction – felt the brunt of the economic collapse.

“My lack of a degree made it difficult to find a job,” Lovvorn explained, noting her career success was gained largely through experiential learning on the job.

One day, while applying for financial aid for one of her sons, she realized something. Falling into a lower income bracket had a positive side.

“I realized there were grants I could use to go back and get a college education,” she said.

Lovvorn started her first day of class on her 41st birthday in January 2010.

At first, she thought she would pursue accounting, but a creative writing class in the summer compelled her to return to her early passion for writing. Lovvorn addressed both her creative and analytical sides in choosing her major. She found the right fit at UWG in the College of Arts and Humanities as an English student.

“What I was unfamiliar with and probably learned the most from is African-American literature,” Lovvorn said. “My spectrum is more diverse now.”

Dr. Stacy Boyd, who teaches African-American literature courses and is the associate department chair of English and philosophy at UWG, agrees.

“I have enjoyed watching Sunday grow as both an undergraduate and graduate student in my African-American literature courses,” Dr. Boyd said. “She is a joy to have in class because she expresses an honest curiosity about the material and is willing to acknowledge moments of difficulty.”

As an undergraduate, Lovvorn worked as a tutor with various athletes at UWG and for Disability Services. She also served as a substitute teacher for Carroll County Schools and Carrollton City Schools and as a volunteer coach in various sports leagues in and around the county.

Today, while she pursues her master’s degree, even greater opportunities have unfolded for Lovvorn. She works as a graduate assistant for the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP), where she spends time researching and writing grants. This work balances her business and writing skills perfectly with the added benefit of doing good for others and paying it forward based on the grant which she once received.

Most of her grant work is with UWG’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing. One awarded grant, for instance, relates to a nurse whose specialty is assisting military veterans who come to UWG to earn nursing degrees.

As the school of nursing continues to grow in size and reputation, Lovvorn finds her skills more in demand. She relishes working alongside professors, helping them find and secure grants to support their innovative work, and in advancing clinical practice and nursing education.

Lovvorn works hard, but she acknowledges the invaluable assistance of faculty mentors who assisted her along the way.

“I still have a desire to teach, but working with ORSP has made me realize I’m really good at administrative type of work,” Lovvorn said.

This collaboration of departments in English and nursing, as well as the ORSP, captures the spirit of UWG. With the learning and experience gained in her decision to Go West, Lovvorn appreciates the breadth of her career options as a December graduation date nears.

Either way, at the top of her list is the desire to Work West.

“I would love to work at the University of West Georgia,” Lovvorn said. “Both of my parents graduated as teachers from here. My dad coached track here. My childhood and adulthood has revolved around this university.”

Posted on May 8, 2018