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Mother, Daughter to Graduate Together from BSU

Bowie State University Communicatons Office | 5/14/2012, 10:10 a.m.

Duo Will Receive Master's Degrees in Mental Health Counseling

BOWIE, MD -- "I pulled her along to get her bachelor's degree and she pulled me along to get my master's degree," said Nora Fields of her and her daughter's upcoming graduation from Bowie State University. Nora, 54, and her daughter, Tanickie Gomillion, 38, will graduate together on May 18, 2012 with their Master of Arts degree in mental health counseling.

The Master of Arts in mental health counseling degree at Bowie State University gives students the option to complete the courses required for initial licensure in the State of Maryland as a part of a degree. The program places great emphasis on interpersonal and helping relationships to prepare persons wishing to become counselors. Fields will graduate in mental health counseling with a concentration in addictions and Gomillion will graduate with a concentration in addictions and marriage and family counseling.

Both Fields and Gomillion got a late start to their education. They both became pregnant as teenagers and put the priorities of family ahead of their educations. However, Fields came to the point where she wanted more for herself. She went back to get her high school diploma when she was 28 and decided to pursue her bachelor's degree when she was 46.

Fields asked Gomillion to attend an open house at Sojourner Douglass College in Baltimore, Md. with her and they ended up enrolling on the same day together. They studied together, majored in psychology together and graduated with their bachelor's degrees together. They then enrolled at Bowie State University together, took classes together, majored in mental health counseling together and will graduate together on May 18th.

"When I made that decision [to enroll in college] in July 2005...I was afraid. I was scared. I didn't know what to expect....I felt like I would be in college with kids," said Fields.

Their drive and commitment for education inspired others in their family. Two of Fields' sisters decided to go back to college to get their degrees. Her son and youngest daughter decided to go to college, a grandson is in college and other grandchildren plan to follow the same route.

"We tried to break the curse and show [our family] how important education is," says Tanickie Gomillion. It has worked because her children "talk about education now more than ever."

And, not surprisingly, Fields and Gomillion are not finished with education just yet. Fields plans to pursue a doctorate in theology. Gomillion will continue school to earn certifications in counseling. They also want to open a counseling center with other family members to utilize what they have learned at Bowie State. Their goal--to help others who have suffered difficult circumstances realize their potential.

"All of the things that I went through in my life, at the time I thought it was the worst thing in the world. But I understand that all those things made me who I am today," said Fields. "I want to tell people you can go on and you can have a good life. You really can."

"I'm very proud of [my mother]," said Gomillion. "I'm proud of her for making it this far."

The Bowie State University 2012 spring commencement ceremony will be held 10 a.m., Friday, May 18, at Bulldog Stadium. Approximately 600 graduates will receive degrees in more than 40 academic programs.

For information on commencement, please visit the Bowie State University commencement website. For information on the Bowie State University master degree programs in counseling, please visit the Bowie State website.