Alumni Spotlight: Sandra Gamby, '02, Lends Support to Children in Poverty

Sandra Gamby, ‘02, lends support to children in poverty through the global organization Compassion International.

Sandra “Sandy” Gamby, ‘02, always knew she wanted to get a college degree, but as a high school graduate in 1984, she lacked the kind of support to acquire one. Still, she did not give up on that goal.  

In 1999, the mother of three quit her day job and became a non-traditional student at Kent State University. Spending the majority of her time on the Stark Campus, Gamby said she fondly remembers the beauty and convenience of Kent State University at Stark. The accessibility of Kent’s various campuses helped Gamby achieve her dream of graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice Studies.

Due to how accommodating Kent State was to her circumstances, Gamby said she has since used this experience to lend support to those less fortunate. 

For the past four years, she has worked with Compassion International, a Christian-led ministry that pledges to help children get out of poverty with the resources necessary to live life to the fullest. Gamby currently serves as the learning and development specialist at the global nonprofit, but she is working to get certified to become a full-time coach for the organization.

Through Compassion International, Gamby said she is provided with the opportunity to give the world’s children the support she lacked as a child herself. 

Q&A with Sandy Gamby

Where are you from? 
I was born in Toledo, but I’ve spent most of my life in the Akron/Canton area.

Why did you choose Kent State? Your degree? 
As a non-traditional student, the Stark Campus was very local and convenient. The campus was beautiful and very easy to get around. When my aunt passed away, I was left to manage her estate, which got me interested in a law-related degree, so I explored majors at Kent State and settled on justice studies for the pre-law track.

Was there a transformative moment where you thought “this is where I’m meant to be” while pursuing your degree?
I don’t know about a transformative moment since I already knew what I wanted to study, but definitely an influential person: Dr. Jarrod Tudor. He was an amazing, engaging professor who allowed for a lot of different perspectives in the classroom.

What is your favorite memory from Kent State? 
Kent State had an award ceremony for the top student in each department and Dr. Tudor awarded me top student for the Criminal Justice Department.

What would you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Being a proud mom of three amazing children and providing an example for them by pursuing higher education.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
Faith. But I’ve also been blessed to be surrounded by a great group of women from all different walks of life.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
I’m tempted to say I’d go to college right after (high school) graduation, but college as an adult was so fulfilling. I was blessed to be in a situation where I could quit my job with my husband’s support and get my degree. I have no regrets.

What’s next for you?
After I got my B.A., I was working on getting my master’s, but I left for another opportunity, which led me here, so I don’t feel called to finish it. Right now, I dream of being a full-time coach for Compassion International. I plan on getting my BCC (board certified coach) certification soon to make this possible.

Do you have any advice for current students in general, or anyone interested in pursuing your same degree?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially as a non-traditional student. And don’t get intimidated by younger students. Befriend them. There’s so much you can learn from different generations, young or old. Lastly, don’t feel locked in the degree you have; you might not end up with a career specific to your degree, but it opens doors, and you do always use aspects of it.

Lauren Carpenter is a senior English major, with a concentration in professional writing and a minor in creative writing. She is a writing tutor in the Writing Center and a member of the English honors society Sigma Delta Tau. After graduation, Lauren wishes to be a copyeditor for a publishing company, preferably for creative fiction, and plans to continue writing on the side for herself.

Connect with Alumni Relations at Kent State University at Stark.

POSTED: Friday, July 21, 2023 01:07 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2023 11:21 AM
Lauren Carpenter, Kent State University at Stark