Editor's Note: This profile is part of a series that features the stories of more than a dozen graduates whose outstanding journeys have culminated in a UMGC degree.
Nadia Latoya Greenidge began pursuing a degree at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) in 2018. This month she graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management. In between, she navigated her studies while holding down a full-time job and, even more, persevered despite extraordinary personal loss.
In a single week last year, three of Greenidge’s family members and the daughter of her best friend died of COVID-19.
“My Mom gave me a hug and a kiss, and I don't know what happened after that,” said Greenidge, who lives in Willowbrook, Illinois.
Several family members became infected with the coronavirus following a family party in the spring. Greenidge’s mother and grandmother died in the same hospital, in adjacent rooms, 48 hours apart.
Greenidge has turned that tragic experience into a new pathway to a meaningful career. During the last 15 years, she has worked in the health care field—for Loyola University, Northwestern University and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital—helping patients obtain approval for surgeries and medical procedures. She believes her new bachelor’s degree will enable her to ramp up her ability to help others.
“I knew I didn’t want to work two jobs anymore, I wanted to work smart, and I had to make a change,” she said.
Greenridge was 17 when she moved with her family from Barbados to Chicago. She completed her GED and selected UMGC at the recommendation of her aunt.
When Greenidge reflected on the last four years at UMGC, she noted that her standout classes include one outside her degree program: African Arts. “It was very interesting and made me research a lot about Black history that I wasn't aware of,” she said.
She also praised a UMGC social sciences instructor, Victoria Merritt, for providing feedback that helped Greenidge improve her writing.
“Nadia is a conscientious and hardworking student who takes the initiative to advocate for herself in the classroom and on various written assignments,” said Merritt, an adjunct associate professor. “She is willing to ask for help when needed and is open to new ideas and collaborative discussion.”
Greenidge acknowledged that the hard work toward her degree combined with the daunting loss of people close to her took a toll. But the horizon is starting to lighten.
“After this experience, I'm starting to live a little more,” she said.