Tamea Ellis-Armstrong’s youngest daughter didn’t start talking when expected—which eventually led to a diagnosis of autism. Ellis-Armstrong’s determination to help her in any way that she could ultimately lead to a psychology degree program at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC).
Ellis-Armstrong just completed her Bachelor of Psychology, graduating cum laude, and now plans to pursue a master’s degree to deepen her capacity to support others with special needs.
“Now my daughter is talking in full sentences, and I want to learn how to assist people who are disabled,” she said.
Ellis-Armstrong said the degree program helped her discover how to help her daughter. “So that’s what really inspired me to further my education and attend graduate school in psychology in the future,” she explained.
Ellis-Armstrong has five daughters ranging in age from 5 to 19 and is serving as a role model to them by completing her degree.
“This will be my first bachelor’s degree which I’m very excited for—it feels like I’ve been working on this degree since I graduated from high school—and this has always been my No. 1 goal,” Ellis-Armstrong explained.
In addition to being a mom and full-time college student, Ellis-Armstrong has worked as a development officer at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for four years. She processes funding for tenants and owners of Section 8 housing based on a contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Tamea was a pleasure to work within my sociology courses. She brought many insights and much enthusiasm to her study of sociology and showed a strong capacity to analyze social issues,” said Collegiate Professor of Social Sciences Donna Maurer, Ph.D. “For example, she wrote an excellent analysis and policy suggestion on how to address rising childcare costs, an important issue affecting many families.
“Psychology majors like Tamea often find that studying sociology is very helpful, in that it can help them better understand the broader social conditions that influence individual problems,” she added.
Upon graduation, Ellis-Armstrong will be applying for graduate positions in federal agencies and is looking forward to graduate school sometime next year.
“UMGC has given me the greatest opportunity. With the flexibility of class schedules, I had the ability to attend school, and still work full time and be a full-time mom,” Ellis-Armstrong said. “I loved the professors, and they were easy to work with. If you ran into hurdles, when you were trying to get papers written and stuff like that, they were easy to work with.”