Mother of three, and aspiring community superhero Atiya Goldsmith didn’t let a lack of funds slow down her desire to get an education. She got busy and worked her way through community college before winning scholarships to pay for her tuition at Peirce College. Years later, she’s the student commencement speaker for the class of 2012, after racking up honors societies and volunteering for local charities. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s started her own scholarship fund with her husband for married individuals at the Community College of Philadelphia. Her drive, passion for learning and inspiring personal success story makes her much more role model than soccer mom. We’re proud to call her our student of the month- here’s why.
Name: Atiya Goldsmith
School and Year: Peirce College Class of 2012.
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in small business management.
Extracurricular Activities: Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, volunteering at Philly Cares Day, Ronald McDonald House, The Hunger Walk and American Heart Association.
1. What made you want to get your degree after having your children?
As a child I watched my mother be abused and found myself in an abusive relationship as a young adult. After my mother passed away, I wanted to work with young girls to help them with self- esteem problems so they would not have to suffer through abuse similar to my mother and me. I knew I would need a college degree, so I enrolled in college a month after my mother passed away.
2. Why did you choose Philly specifically?
I chose The Community College because of its affordable classes. I chose Peirce College because when I attended an open house, the staff was very friendly and the school catered to working adults.
3. What drove you to creating the scholarship with your husband for married individuals, and why do you think it is such an important cause?
As a married part-time student, I did not qualify for financial aid or grants, so I had to pay my way through Community College. There were times that I had to cancel a class because I could not afford to pay for the class and pay for a textbook. While I was at CCP, my writing skills improved and I began participating in leadership organizations on campus. The confidence that I gained showed at work. I was complimented on my detailed emails and I was able to represent our company when U. S. Customs wanted to audit our company’s procedure. Once I graduated, I wanted to give back to CCP, because of my experience at the school. I chose to create a scholarship for married students (the Goldsmith-Irby scholarship, with her husband James Irby), because I know first-hand how difficult it is.
4. What would you tell a student who was thinking about coming to the Philly area for college?
I would advise a student to take the time to experience what Philly has to offer such as all of the museums, the music, restaurants, and of course the Liberty Bell. Taking the time to experience Philly will help students feel connected to the college that they attend which will help them excel. The best way to explore the city is to walk around. People get to experience many small intimate businesses that they would normally ride pass if they were on the bus or in a car.
5. What is one hidden gem you have discovered in the city?
A hidden gem that I discovered in the city was Peirce College. I walked past the college on many occasions, but I thought the school was as an institution for paralegal students only. I had no idea that the school focused on IT and Business Administration degree programs.
6. What is your ideal Philly job?
My ideal Philly job is to work with an organization such as Comcast in a Community Relations Position where I am able to work on projects that help uplift the community it serves.
You can contact Magali Roman at email@example.com.
This profile is part of an ongoing series in partnership with Flying Kite, a weekly online magazine focused on what’s next for Philadelphia and its suburbs. Read this story on Flying Kite and more at flyingkitemedia.com.
Want to be Campus Philly’s next Student of the Month? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why we should pick you!