Meet our incredible 2023-24 Scholarship Recipients!
ANSWER has awarded scholarships to 20 mothers for the 2023-2024 school year. ANSWER provides scholarships to mothers 25 years of age and older in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties pursuing a four-year college degree in any field or select two-year degrees.
Quanae Adebolu lives with her daughter in east Charlotte. She is scheduled to graduate in 2025 with an associate degree in nursing from CPCC. Adebolu hopes to build a career in health care to help others live healthy, meaningful lives.
Like many women, Adebolu put her educational goals on hold while she prioritized marriage and helping others. She has been a single mom for three years and links her experiences with personal growth and the opportunity to start a new chapter. She strives to be an example for her daughter by working hard, being brave, and living an authentic life.
Adebolu believes opportunities to learn surround us each day. She wants to instill in her daughter the power of good judgment in hopes she will gain wisdom and pursue a lifetime of learning.
Nokisha Barringer is a native Charlottean who lives in north Charlotte with her two children. A senior at Queens University studying for a B.S. in Nursing, she plans to graduate in December 2023.
Barringer works full-time at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a surgical specialty nurse. This role has allowed her to give back and be an advocate for soldiers who fought for this country. After graduation, Barringer hopes to work as a recovery room nurse for patients’ post-surgery. She ultimately wants to obtain a doctorate in nursing and become a nurse practitioner.
Her goals are centered around two priorities: to have an impact and promote change to benefit others through advocacy; and to show her children that having a vision attracts purpose, and having a purpose attracts the resources to complete your vision.
July Bastidas is studying medical laboratory technology at CPCC with expected graduation in May 2024. Bastidas is from Colombia, South America and first came to the United States in 2012 as an international student. In 2015 she returned as a resident.
Bastidas believes that as an immigrant, priorities and opportunities occur differently. She has seen other immigrant women change their narrative and it has empowered her to do the same. We tell our children they can be whatever they want, she says, but we don't always create a better narrative for our own life. Bastidas aims to change that.
Her children are seeing the dedication and effort it takes for her to earn a degree. She wants them to realize that education is a way to achieve their dreams and be better every day. Bastidas is married with two children and lives in north Charlotte.
A junior at Belmont Abbey College working toward her B.S. in Psychology, Ashley Davis is a wife and mother of two daughters, ages 6 and 10. Davis always had a desire for higher education but didn’t know which field to pursue until now.
Her youngest daughter, on the verge of turning 2, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2017. After countless treatments, her daughter is now cancer-free.
This traumatic experience, along with a fond memory from her teenage years of helping to care for an older relative, ignited Davis’ passion for mental health. She decided to return to school to seek a career where she can assist, encourage, and love people.
Her oldest daughter finished the school year on the A/B honor roll. Her youngest has completed kindergarten and is reading above grade level. Davis is immensely proud of them both. The family lives in Mt. Holly.
Emily Evans is studying for an Associate in Nursing degree at Gaston College with expected graduation in 2025. Though she attempted college at the traditional age, she couldn't make it work due to the limited support available to her.
Facing many obstacles in life, Evans was 16 when her mom passed away. Evans also gave birth to her daughter that same year. Not letting those major changes get in her way, she still managed to graduate from high school in the top 10 percent of her class. So far, she has made the Dean's or President's List each semester at Gaston College for her top grades.
Her next steps are to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and gain experience as a labor and delivery nurse. Her ultimate goal is to become a nurse practitioner, focusing on women's health.
Evans lives with her three children in Gastonia. She says she has learned "life brings about many challenges, but only you can show your strength and push through to your next destination."
April Flamer-Harris wants to set an example for her eight children in her blended family. She grew up in a religious order which discouraged higher education. It was believed that a “spiritual education” is more valuable and essential to one’s well-being than a formal education. Now, she believes a college degree will help set up her family for a better economic future.
Flamer-Harris is a senior at Wingate University studying for dual degrees in business communications and psychology and human services. She expects to graduate in May 2024 and hopes to earn an MBA afterwards.
Flamer-Harris once faced financial and housing struggles. Today, she works full-time as a regional manager for a healthcare company that oversees and supports chiropractic clinics in the U.S. She wants her children to understand that no matter where life takes them, getting an education is the starting point. It will give them the strongest foundation, no matter what they decide to do.
Amber House is working towards her B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering with a minor in Cybersecurity from Johnson C. Smith University, with expected graduation in May 2025.
House says her parents never completed college. The family never owned a home. Her brothers were incarnated while she was in high school. The visits to court and jail solidified for her that she would do better.
House gave birth to her first child during her freshman year of college. After taking one semester off, she completed an associate degree in business with a minor in entrepreneurship from Goodwin College in Connecticut. Today, House works for TD Bank as a fraud analyst. She wants to stay in the banking industry and use her bachelor’s degree to move into cybersecurity.
Higher education will soon be a family tradition. House’s daughter, Denaijah will graduate from high school in 2026 and hopes to study biochemical engineering in college.
A mother of two daughters who works part-time for a nonprofit as a resource development strategist, Kim Lewis is studying for her B.A. in Business Management at Johnson C. Smith University.
In her job, Lewis works with people facing mental health and substance abuse challenges. After several years of encouraging others to achieve what they thought impossible, she decided it was her time to follow that guidance and pursue her own dreams. As Lewis says, "If not now, when? If not me, then who?" She feels her faith has significantly contributed to helping her through many of life's challenges and brought her and her daughters many triumphs.
Lewis originally went the traditional college route at age 18 but moved back home in her senior year when she became a single mom. She has taught both daughters that education and knowledge are key for success, and wants to be a shining example of what is possible with grit and tenacity. Lewis hopes to open an actuarial firm with her degree and help her younger daughter grow her bakery business. The family lives in Dallas.
Tasha Moffatt is scheduled to graduate from York Technical College in May 2026 with a degree in dental hygiene. Moffatt wants her children to understand that education is truly freedom. She encourages them to look for opportunities and learn how to stay out of their own way. Her advice? “Don't block your blessings or self-sabotage.”
Moffatt had her oldest child at an early age and went to work to support herself and her family. Going to college was just not possible. She says that, through her faith, she has learned to be secure in who she is and make better life choices.
Moffatt lives in Rock Hill and has worked 15 years as a hemodialysis technician for Fresensius Kidney Care. Upon graduation she wants to start a dental hygienist career and hopes to purchase a home.
Toni Moss lives with her two children, ages 15 and 6, in Ballantyne. Currently a junior at UNC Charlotte earning a B.S. in Communications, she was once a teenage mother. Early motherhood forced her to make many adult decisions. Those experiences, along with a pregnancy support group that introduced her to mentors, were the jump start she needed to begin her college journey. It took 12 years with some starts and stops. But Moss never forgot the look in her mentor’s eyes when her mentor told her, “I believe in you.”
Moss holds an associate degree in hospitality management. The pandemic forced her to think more broadly about her future. She now works full-time at Raytheon Technologies and part-time as an event planner for Elevated Living. Moss wants to be the catalyst for generational wealth and stability for her children. “I want my children to know it is worth every obstacle, every tear, and every late night to achieve this major life accomplishment,” she says. She hopes to one day own a restaurant and event management company.
Stephanie Patterson is a single mother of two teenage children, a 15-year -old daughter and an 18-year-old son who lives with a disability. Patterson is studying for her associate degree in human resource services, focused on developmental disabilities, at CPCC. She is certified as a family partner, helping families access resources and create plans for how to get to where they wish to be in life.
Patterson hopes to launch her own non-profit to help individuals and families cope with disabilities. She wants her children to understand the importance of acquiring an education, no matter what. "Even if it feels like there are stones in front of you,” she says, “use them to build stairs to reach your goal." The family lives in northwest Charlotte.
Kelly Ann Pearson
Kelly Ann Pearson is earning a B.A. in English at UNC Charlotte, with expected graduation in December 2023. She works part-time as a freelance writer and hopes to teach creative writing to high school students after graduation. She is a wife and mother of five, ages 13 to 29. Her husband is a disabled veteran.
A native of Barbados, Pearson is a Caribbean-American cook with a degree in culinary arts from CPCC. When the pandemic took a toll on the restaurant industry, Pearson decided to follow another one of her passions, writing.
Pearson's husband was injured during a deployment and needs daily help. Pearson has also faced health setbacks; she received corneal transplants to improve her vision. "I show my family that nothing can defeat them," she says. Pearson's daughter gets great joy in telling friends that Mom has a 3.5 GPA and is her inspiration. Pearson has a grandson that she has nicknamed 'the toddler overlord,' and she wants him to see nothing is impossible. The family lives in Mint Hill.
Linda Pineda became a mother at the end of her junior year of high school and still graduated the following year with honors. She pursued a career as a certified medical assistant, which gave her a way to follow her interests in medicine while caring for her daughter. But Pineda was also in a toxic relationship. She eventually made the difficult decision to leave her hometown, moving more than 600 miles to get a fresh start for herself and her daughter.
Pineda now lives in Ranlo, N.C., with her fiancée and their three children. She is a junior in the biology program at UNC Charlotte and hopes to become a physician assistant. She wants her children to “understand the importance of a good education, not for the sake of making their parents happy but to make themselves happy.”
At 21, Lauren Reese gave birth to her daughter. Every decision she has made since becoming a single mother has been done with her daughter's future in mind. She is determined not to become another statistic.
Reese is majoring in social work at Johnson C. Smith University. Following her graduation next May, she hopes to become a mental health therapist and own a childcare center. Reese currently works at Mad Science in Charlotte, which provides science experiences for children. She and her daughter live in west Charlotte.
Reese wants to teach her daughter that education is important and anything worth having is worth the hard work it takes to get it.
Morgan Riddle is attending Carolinas College of Health Sciences as a junior in the Associate Degree Nursing program. Riddle was one of three children and planned to attend college but realized that she nor her parents were prepared for the cost of a college education. She wanted to be a nurse so when the traditional college route did not work, she began a career working with special needs children.
Riddle married but describes the relationship as toxic. After their son was born, Riddle realized that she had to leave this situation, both for her and her son. She decided to return to school as a single mom and become the nurse she always wanted to be. Riddle recently remarried and her son, now 5, watches her closely. He sees the long hours of studying and the hard work that it takes. She wants him to understand that the pursuit of dreams will have obstacles, and to get there you will need education.
Amy Roberts lives with her husband David and three children in Matthews. She is earning a B.S. in Psychology at UNC Charlotte with expected graduation in May 2024. She ultimately hopes to earn a master's degree in counseling and become a school counselor. Roberts works full-time for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as an exceptional child teaching assistant.
Her interest in psychology and counseling stems from her father's death when she was four to bipolar disorder. Roberts was pulled out of school in eighth grade. She lacked formal education until the age of 17 when she studied and earned her GED. Roberts took the next step and immediately enrolled in community college but left the following year to marry and start building a photography business to help support her family. Once she began having children, her college education was put on hold until now.
Roberts says ANSWER Scholarship has truly opened doors for her and her family that she didn't think possible. She is glad she took the leap and trusted in herself since she was the only thing holding herself back.
Shereka Rowell says that without ANSWER Scholarship, she wouldn’t be in college today, studying for a B.S. in Nursing from Pfeiffer University. While attending college, she will also continue to assist her husband in the daily operations of his trucking business. The mother of two hopes to work in nursing management at a hospital one day.
Though Rowell attempted college at the traditional age, she faced obstacles that made her drop out. “My story is very complex,” she says. “The challenges I’ve faced as a woman, mother, and wife have been significantly difficult, but I'm still here and I'm still standing!”
She hopes that as her children witness their middle-age mom resume her education, they will learn that perseverance is key to achieving your dreams. Rowell lives with her family in Huntersville.
RaeDeja Sawyer, is a mother of four and two bonus children. She is studying for her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in professional writing and rhetoric at Queens University.
Sawyer pursued a college education at the traditional age for one semester, but her father's illness required her to return home to help her mother care for him. Her dad always emphasized education, specifically for women, saying it fostered independence. Even in his final days, he urged her to get her degree. Sawyer enrolled in CPCC just two months after his passing and earned an associate degree with a focus on criminal justice and psychology.
Sawyer wants her children to see that education not only can maximize their own growth and development, but also can help them strengthen the lives around them and build up successful communities. Upon graduation, she plans to enter law school or earn a master’s in public administration or public policy.
Porsha Sims is a married mother of five children who wants them to know that there is nothing they cannot do and the key to that is education.
Sims is a senior at Johnson C. Smith University studying business administration with a concentration in management. She works full-time with the Cabarrus County Department of Human Services.
Sims says she was not motivated to attend college and at 17 became a single mom. As her son grew older, she knew he deserved more. Sims wanted him to have a mother he could be proud of. Watching him cheer her on in the crowd when she graduated from high school is one of her happiest memories.
Sims took college courses at CPCC but due to lack of support, she put school on hold. She later married the love of her life, Michael, and with his support she was finally able to go back to school. In 2020, she graduated with an associate in business administration. She couldn’t walk across the stage due to Covid-19, but this time she had two more sons watching her graduate and cheering her on.
Monkia Wells is a first-generation college student, the first in her immediate family to graduate from high school and attend college. A sophomore at Winthrop University working toward her B.A in Business, she is the mother of three children.
Wells grew up the youngest of four and always knew she wanted to make something of herself. She has faced many obstacles that kept her from finishing college but feels now, with her children a bit older, she can continue what she started in her 20s. Her career goals include either owning a business or rising to a high-level position within a company.
Wells wants to show her children that they can be whatever they want if they stay focused, keep their grades up, be respectful and work hard: “They can do it just like Mommy.” Wells lives with her children and partner in Rock Hill.