Dorothy Miller was only 15 years old when she gave birth to her first child. She faced many challenges as a teenage mother, such as stigma, poverty, and lack of support. She dropped out of high school and struggled to make ends meet. But she never gave up on her dreams of getting an education and improving her life.
She enrolled in a GED program and passed the test. She then applied to a community college and earned an associate degree in social work. She transferred to a four-year university and completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She continued her studies and obtained two master’s degrees, one in counseling and one in public administration. She finally achieved her ultimate goal of earning a PhD in education from the University of Georgia.
Dorothy Miller is now a successful educator, researcher, and advocate for teen mothers. She works as a professor at a local college and conducts research on the barriers and opportunities for teen mothers in education. She also runs a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, tutoring, and scholarships for teen mothers who want to pursue higher education.
She says that her motivation comes from her children, who are now grown up and have their own careers. She wants to be a role model for them and for other teen mothers who face similar challenges. She says that she hopes to inspire them to believe in themselves and to never give up on their dreams.
“I want them to know that they are not defined by their circumstances, but by their choices. They can overcome any obstacle if they work hard and stay focused. They can achieve anything they set their minds to,” she says.
Dorothy Miller’s story is remarkable, especially considering the statistics on teen pregnancy and education. According to the CDC, the US teen birth rate is one of the highest in the western industrialized world, and there are significant racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates. Teen pregnancy and childbearing are associated with increased social and economic costs, such as low education attainment, low income, poor health outcomes, and increased risk of child abuse and neglect.
Only 53% of women in their 20s who first became mothers when they were teenagers completed a traditional high school degree, according to a report by Child Trends. Another 17% earned their high-school equivalency diploma by passing the GED test. Less than 2% of teen moms earned a college degree by age 30, according to DoSomething.org.
Dorothy Miller defied these odds and proved that teen mothers can achieve academic success and professional excellence. She is an example of resilience, perseverance, and determination. She is a woman who deserves to be celebrated for her accomplishments and contributions to society.
Ieshia Champs is also another woman who defied the odds and achieved her lifelong academic dream of becoming a lawyer. She is a single mother of five children, who helped her study and graduate from law school with honors. She recently passed the bar exam in Texas and is on her way to becoming a licensed attorney.
Champs did not have an easy life growing up. She was homeless as a teenager, dropped out of high school, and had her first child at 19. She faced many challenges and tragedies, such as losing her job, her home, and the father of two of her children to cancer. She also suffered a miscarriage and was diagnosed with a rare illness that caused her to lose her memory.
But Champs did not give up on her education or her faith. She obtained her GED from Houston Community College in 2009, then pursued an associate degree in paralegal studies from the same institution. She graduated with honors in 2011 and received a scholarship to attend the University of Houston-Downtown, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2013. She then applied and was accepted to Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where she received several awards and scholarships. She graduated in May 2018 with a 3.63 GPA and Magna Cum Laude honors. Read more about Ieshia here.