DeSharra Stamps has always understood the big picture, but occasionally the fine details have tripped her up.
“I was in tutorial classes at Raymond High School from freshman year through senior year,” she said. “I have an issue with short-term comprehension skills. Sometimes, I have to receive information several times before I can understand it.”
Stamps, 25, of Edwards, received a certificate after high school but not a full diploma since she didn’t pass two parts of the state test to graduate. She began pursuing her High School Equivalency at Hinds in 2014, eventually landing at the Utica Campus due to the bus transportation provided there.
“I had trouble getting into college because I didn’t have my high school diploma,” she said. “Then, an aunt of mine died. She had encouraged me a lot in school and was taking me to my classes at the time. It was around then that I found out about the MIBEST program and about the transportation they have at Utica. By summer 2018, my mom and I were on board with coming to Utica.”
The program allows adult students to train for a job skill while earning their High School Equivalency certificate at the same time. Students are prepared to be job-ready in six months to a year, train in high-demand areas and earn national certifications.
By 2019, Stamps had earned an HSE certificate and began a journey that ends next semester when she earns an Associate of Applied Science in Business Office Technology. Along the way, she has received an Individual Training Account (ITA) scholarship, maintained a 4.0 GPA, earned membership in the Alpha Beta Xi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and been named a President’s Scholar twice. Also, she scored well on the Career Readiness Certificate test, a key measuring stick for potential employers who choose to use it.
“My time management has been better since I’ve been in college,” she said. “Before, I’d put things off and not really focus. I’ve been on top of things by coming to class on time and making sure all my work is completed before the weekend.
“I’ve always been a hands-on learner, so I enjoyed a class trip we took to a local restaurant and saw the behind-the-scenes look at all parts of the business. As for computers, I’ve enjoyed using them since my first computer class in the eighth grade. We’re learning keyboarding and programs like Access and Excel.”
“My teachers have been hands-on with me, but still give me the space to learn and work on my own.”
She’s made the grade in college with instruction that has made her feel comfortable but still challenged.
“My teachers have been hands-on with me, but still give me the space to learn and work on my own,” she said. “They’re patient with me but make sure I’m understanding it.”
Her instructors and advisers are equally deferential when it comes to proper credit for her success.
“I knew that DeSharra was a special student from day one,” said Kenneth McGriggs, her Business Office Technology instructor. “Her hard work allowed her to excel from her initial courses all the way through to her career and technical certificates. I’m most proud of her becoming a President’s Scholar.”
As a member of PTK, she’s branched out socially by recruiting new members.
“She is the first to volunteer for any task or program we are having,” said faculty adviser Beverly Trimble. “She participated in the Utica Outreach Program this semester and hosted the Utica Campus table for recruiting.”
Stamps sees herself as a potential jack-of-all-trades in the next phase of her life.
“I’d love to work in an office, probably as an administrative assistant to start out,” she said. “I want to be able to learn about all the things you need to run a business.”