Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Virginia Allen-Anderson. I have lived in Calvert County since 1987 and graduated from The Calverton School. I live in Owings with my husband and our three girls. I currently work in the automotive industry but have returned to school to pursue my lifelong dream in nursing. In my spare time, I enjoy shopping, playing with our dogs, gardening, and cooking.
What are you studying at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and what do you plan to do after graduation?
I am pursuing my associate’s degree in nursing at CSM as well as looking into my options for the associate-to-bachelor or dual enrollment nursing pathway. I hope to work as an RN after graduation.
What inspired you to go back to school and change career paths?
I have wanted to be a nurse since I was young. I always had excuses as to why now wasn’t the time to go after my dream, but I finally asked myself, if not now, then when? I think the final push was losing my parents. It was a reminder that life is short. Before my dad passed, I had the chance to learn from the most amazing home health care nurse. She made the impossible seem possible. She was a wonderful caretaker and teacher, and I hope one day to be the same for a family facing similar circumstances.
Do you have any advice for others who are considering returning to college?
Do it! Take the leap! Apply online and then go meet with an advisor and research financial aid. It is scary but so worth it. My biggest fear was not being the oldest in my class but being able to make the payments. Fortunately, there are very generous people who want to help make your dreams a reality. Years ago, I used my children as an excuse as to why I could not go back to school, but I realized that was misguided. By not returning to school and investing in myself, I was teaching my girls that I wasn’t worth it, and one day that could make them believe they aren’t worth it either, which is simply not true.
How has the Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth Scholarship helped you in achieving your goals at CSM?
The Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth Scholarship has been an integral part of pursuing my dream locally. The scholarship allowed my biggest fear of returning to school to be a distant memory. Without the constant worry of payments, I can focus on the program and my family.
Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth was a committed mother, wife, and daughter who strongly believed in the power of education to lift up individuals and families. As a mother of three, she pursued professional education part-time and entered the workforce later in life, bringing creativity and business-savvy to her career as a real estate professional and co-founder of the Southern Maryland Woman magazine.
The Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth Memorial Scholarship was launched in 2020 and provides assistance to returning adult students who are residents of Southern Maryland. If you would like to help support returning students with ambitious goals, please consider contributing to the scholarship fund. As part of the CSM Giving Tuesday campaign, donations made to the fund during the month of November will be matched by the Solms family.
If you would like to contribute, visit the CSM Giving Tuesday landing page. Click on the “Give Now” button. From there, please select the Melissa Ann Solms- Baruth Memorial Scholarship under “Designation” and enter the details for your donation. For further details about the scholarship or to make a donation by check, please contact Chelsea Clute, Executive Director of the CSM Foundation, at [email protected] or 240-429-0959.