Uraina Watkins, Entrepreneurial   Studies

One of 18 siblings from Philadelphia, now married and the mother of three children; a certified entrepreneur and founder of a daycare; a volunteer at her children’s school and at her church’s day care; a student pursuing her Associate of Art’s (AA) degree; a woman who discovered her ability to be wife, mother, student and entrepreneur all at the same time; and someone looking to help those less who cannot afford daycare for their children.

Each of these descriptions accurately applies to Uraina Watkins, graduating from Montgomery County Community College in May with a certificate in entrepreneurial studies (CES) and continuing on in an associate’s degree program in education in the early years.

Uraina has opened a small daycare, Little Lansdale Childcare, in her home and currently has four children in her care. Thanks to everything learned while completing her certificate, she has already been approved for her daycare license.

“I learned so many things that I didn’t know I needed,” she said. Her Entrepreneurial Essentials class was especially helpful. “I got all the details I needed in Essentials,” she said. “Essentials is why I have my license now.”

Uraina wants to assist lower income families who might not be able to afford daycare otherwise.

“I’m working through a program called CCIS, Childcare Information Services, and they help people coming off welfare or people who want to go back to school but can’t afford childcare,” she said. “I always wanted to help [others], and I feel like taking on children from low income families is a great way to help [those families] succeed in life and move forward.”

The wife of a fellow entrepreneur, Uraina had often planned to return to school but pregnancies, sick children or other family responsibilities resulted in delays. Above and beyond the normal duties of a wife and mother, her middle child, a daughter, has hypoglycemia and severe asthma and is often in and out of the hospital.

Uraina’s oldest son, twelve years old, “is the reason I went back to school. He keeps me going,” she said. To aid her return to school, he offered to help her with dishes or babysitting. When she expressed her fear of failure, he said “Well you’ve already failed if you give up.”

When finally able to get back to school, “I thought it was going to be easier because I was married,” Uraina said. “But there are a lot of demands to being a wife and a mother and working and going to school. The adjustment at my house has been a little bit hard for [everyone].”

Though she loves and clearly is devoted to her family, returning to school has reinvigorated Uraina’s life.

“Just being home with my children, I thought that was it. [But] coming to Community showed me that I can be [a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a student]… and it’s overwhelming sometimes but I feel alive again.”

Uraina is grateful for all the help she’s received so far and for her overall experience at MCCC.

Ayisha Sereni, interim director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, “was so helpful,” Uraina said. “She was amazing, dedicated to being there for the student and ensuring their success both inside and outside of the program.”

As for her experience in the entrepreneurial studies program, “I’ll always look back at this experience as one of the most positive decisions I have ever made,” Uraina said.

Uraina’s future is bright. She is looking forward to graduation in May, her first such ceremony in a long time. Her positive experience in the certificate program led her to enroll in the AA program for Education in the Early Years, which she anticipates completing in 2014.

She expects to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program afterward, possibly at Temple University or Chestnut Hill College. In the meantime, she feels personal pride in how far she’s come and looks forward to all that she can accomplish, building on the foundation received at MCCC.

~ by Tamara A. Measler

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