You Would Never Convince this Non-Traditional Community College Student and Mother of Two Children That It Was Too Late to Realize Her College Dream

Twenty-two years ago few would have put money on a bet that Stacy Okada would win a highly-regarded scholarship like the Goldwater. At that time Stacy found herself homeless and on the street. This situation was not about to define Okada who ultimately found herself married with two children and on the doorstep of MassBay Community college.

Her experience at MassBay allowed her to ask and to answer many career question that she will face in graduate school as a wife and mother: Can I reasonably expect to spend quality time in lab each day? Can I organize my time so I have a productive research day every day while maintaining my familial relationships and responsibilities? Stacy’s response is, “I have answered all of these questions in the affirmative and am pursuing my goals with heightened interest and passion.”

Okada plans to pursue a doctorate in either molecular biology or biochemistry with plans to mentor nontraditional students and women in STEM. “This is an incredible honor and the most validating academic experience of my life,” said Okada after learning she had won a Goldwater Scholarship. “This distinction is proof to anyone beginning their journey a little later in life, as I have, that it is truly never too late to pursue your dreams.”