HFC prepared student for grad school at Wayne State, where she graduated magna cum laude
Erica Davenport is the first person in her family to earn a master’s degree.
Davenport recently graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University in Detroit, earning her master’s degree in educational leadership.
“My grandparents were very influential in my upbringing, especially my grandmother Mary,” said Davenport, of Detroit. “She was an advocate of higher education and encouraged me to continue my education after high school. She passed away in 2015 from cancer, a year before I graduated from Western Michigan University. My master’s degree is in honor of her.”
The eldest of three, Davenport graduated from the Detroit School of Arts in 2011 and from WMU in 2016. At WMU, she earned her bachelor’s degree in child and family development with a minor in social work.
“I have always had an affinity for children,” she said. “But it was not until I completed my field experience as an undergrad at a childcare center in Kalamazoo when I realized I had a passion for education and finding creative ways to impact children and their families.”
HFC gave her confidence and passion for grad school
For someone who graduated magna cum laude, Davenport admitted that she wasn’t sure about pursuing a master’s degree.
“I wanted to go back to school for years but was afraid I was not prepared for graduate classes,” she said. “Before continuing my education at Wayne State, I researched colleges that offered English and writing classes. I struggled the most in that area in undergrad. After completing an English course taught by Scott Still, I felt like I had the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in grad school.”
In 2019, Davenport enrolled in English instructor Scott Still’s ENG 132: College Writing and Research class.
“Scott’s English class ignited a new passion for writing that I never thought I had. I really enjoyed his course and the topics covered,” she said. “HFC is a school that helps people from all walks of life further their education at a pace that best fits them.”
Still is impressed by Davenport’s accomplishments. In fact, he wrote a letter of recommendation on her behalf when she applied to Wayne State.
“As a teacher, there is no feeling more fulfilling than witnessing your students learn, grow, and progress – and this is especially true when it continues beyond your classroom,” said Still. “Erica's success is commendable but not at all surprising. She was a serious student from the start of the term and one who blossomed as the semester wore on. Her work, without exception, improved continuously from start to finish in my class, so that's why it comes as no surprise that she performed so impressively in her graduate studies at Wayne State.”
Setting a high GPA goal to overcome self-imposed barriers
Davenport chose to pursue grad work at Wayne State because of the scheduling flexibility and the structure of her master’s degree program. The faculty and staff was welcoming and helpful throughout the entire application process, she pointed out.
“I set the goal of graduating with a very high GPA to overcome the self-imposed barriers I once held for myself,” recalled Davenport. “When I entered the graduate program at Wayne State, I was placed on academic probation. But with much love, support, and courage, I was determined to graduate magna cum laude! And I did! For this, I am honored and humbled.”
Davenport is applying to doctoral programs in higher education. She plans to start her doctoral work in 2023.
“I worked as a teacher for the Early Head Start Division of Matrix Human Services in Detroit for five years. Although I greatly enjoyed assisting children in developing the fundamental skills needed in preparation for primary school, my role as a teacher was – to a degree – limited to the classroom. I realized I wanted to have a more significant impact. I gained the desire to assist fellow educators in identifying solutions to the myriad problems facing children and families from socioeconomically repressed areas. As a result, I made the decision to apply for a new position and was hired as a Child Development Specialist/Coach last year within my current organization,” she explained.
Davenport shared her ultimate career goal.
“I hope to work in a position where I can cultivate, impact, and encourage the growth and development of teachers, children, and families,” she said. “While pursuing my doctorate, I plan to develop a program or organization that identifies ways to counter at a young age the achievement gaps many students face from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.”
She also wanted to encourage others who are hesitant to pursue graduate work.
“I want to encourage others to go for their dreams and not allow self-doubt to hinder them,” said Davenport. “For so many years, I put off school out of fear of failing, but once I developed a plan to overcome my areas of weakness, I realized how strong I am. Don’t let anything hinder or stop you from going for your dreams. You can do this!”