LaTisha Culler’s Long Journey To Her Dream

Perseverance, scholarships and divine inspiration helped a non-traditional student earn her degree at Kent State
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LaTisha Culler is the first of her siblings to complete a degree at a four-year university. She’s married (she met her husband at Kent State), with four children. Her oldest daughter has just begun her first year of college.

Culler’s path to graduating from Kent State in fall 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated studies and a minor concentration in human development and family studies, had a long series of twists, turns and challenges, spanning more than 20 years.

The winding road to her goal

She began her academic career on Kent State’s Kent Campus but soon had to move back home to Canton. In 2001, she continued her studies at Kent State’s Stark Campus. When she discovered she was pregnant with her second child in 2006, she decided to put her academic career on hold.

“I had a hard time figuring out, do I want to continue school? Do I wait?” Culler said. “I really thank God for the women and the staff at Kent Stark because one of the things I’ve always felt at Kent State is that it’s been a family to me.”

“I will never forget her telling me ‘Honey, take care of your family. School will be here,’” Culler said. After that, Culler said, “Life went on, life happened.” 

She started a family business.

“Out of nowhere, The Lord spoke to me and said, “It’s time for you to go back to school.”

She was accepted at Kent State in Fall 2018, but when her daughter passed away after a long battle with cancer, she needed to put school on hold once again. 

Culler (center) with staff of University Outreach and Engagement

Culler (second from left) with the staff of Kent State University's Office of  Outreach and Engagment. She shadowed this office as part of a project in one of her courses. 

A call back to campus

In 2021, Culler received a call from an academic advisor at Kent State at Stark, informing her that her name was on the list for a Second Chance Grant. “And she basically answered a prayer that I had. So, then I went back to school and here I am, graduated in 2022.”

Culler was able to graduate with the help of that grant and additional scholarship funding. “I call it being a ‘super senior.’ I had run out of additional aid and maxed my limit for student loans. But these scholarships helped me complete a goal that I had when I graduated high school, which was graduating from Kent State University.”

Culler with a student from Firestone High School in Akron

While working with University Outreach and Engagement, Culler met with students from Akron high schools during Senior Visit Day.

Her message to students

The thing Culler would want other students to know about Kent State is this: “A lot of times, a lot of students like me, or friends that I’ve graduated with, they don’t think that college is a possibility. They don’t think they have, they’re smart enough or have the grades or may not have the support,’ Culler said. “But what I can say about Kent State is I love the work the university is doing in engagement and outreach to get students here. I just love it.”

Now, Culler has a position as a patient and family advocate for the Eva Women’s Clinic in Akron – a clinic offering free pregnancy tests and limited ultrasound screenings for women in the community. She feels that the things she learned at Kent State have enriched her ability to connect with families through enhanced communication skills and the ability to build interpersonal relationships with the people she interacts with in the community.

“I will be forever grateful and thankful for the life-changing experiences, lessons learned, the growth – and the adversities that were both impactful and meaningful as a teen and as an adult on the campuses of Kent State University.”

LaTisha Culler Stark Welcome Team

Culler (center) giving campus tours to incoming freshman as part of Kent State University at Stark's Welcome Team

POSTED: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 10:39 AM
Updated: Friday, April 21, 2023 11:58 AM
Phil B. Soencksen