by Sheryl Marlar

Yeme Thomas made history at the University of West Georgia’s fall commencement ceremony as the university’s first graduate with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.

Yeme Thomas with her daughterThe new degree is delivered fully online through a partnership with USG eMajor in collaboration with other University System of Georgia schools. Housed in the UWG College of Social SciencesDepartment of Political Science, the program provides a true interdisciplinary opportunity. The degree allows for a large amount of student personalization through elective credits and credit for prior learning opportunities.

As a single mother who works full time, Thomas needed an online program to follow her dream of earning a college degree.

“I chose UWG because it had an eMajor program that suited my area of interest,” she said. “The program has some great courses taught by phenomenal professors that are extremely relevant to careers in the program.”

Even though Thomas completed all courses online, she never felt isolated.

“As an eMajor student, I always felt as if I was actually taking classes on campus because the staff and faculty were so great in making sure my needs were met,” Thomas explained. “UWG is an excellent school. From admissions to the bursar and to academic advising – every single department is helpful and professional.”

Thomas works full time as a preschool teacher in Atlanta, but she plans to continue her education at UWG.

“I’m pretty set on obtaining my MPA,” Thomas continued. “After graduating, I’d like to work in the nonprofit or government sector.”

Thomas recently became a published author when huffingtonpost.com ran an opinion piece she wrote on proposed changes to the nation’s tax system. The article detailed her point of view as a working mother who relies on government assistance to make ends meet.

Dr. Salvador Peralta, Yeme Thomas and Dr. Dylan McLean
L to R: Dr. Salvador Peralta, Yeme Thomas and Dr. Dylan McLean

“I earn $11 an hour. Raising a daughter and trying to live a full life on such a meager salary is tough,” she wrote. “It would be virtually impossible without government resources that help make housing and childcare affordable for working families like mine.

“Even though I am barely making ends meet, I continue to believe that there is hope for us all, and that we, as a country of communities and families, will see to it that all are nourished and our needs are met,” Thomas said. “I do it every day for my children at school and my child at home.”

“This is quite an accomplishment,” said Dr. Jane McCandless, dean of the College of Social Sciences. “She is an outstanding student with an inspiring story, and this December she will be UWG’s first graduate with this major.”

Thomas sees new possibilities for herself as she graduates.

“I’m proud to say I’m a Wolf,” she concluded. “I got a quality and affordable education here – one that will take my career in the right direction. I want a career that is rewarding and will make a positive impact on others. And, I want to motivate others to pursue higher education and not let anything get in the way of achieving their goals.”

Posted on December 12, 2017