CCM Faculty Support Gave This Young Mother A Chance to Pursue Her Dream

Major: Child and Family Studies –Childcare Specialist Certificate

Hometown: Rockaway Borough

 “I don't think I have ever held my head as high as I did when I walked across the stage at graduation.”

Young adult woman with long brown hair in blue dressCaitlin Allen-Cowan credits the amazing support and encouragement she received at County College of Morris (CCM) with enabling her to reach for her dreams. She first attended CCM, “right out of high school, but lost motivation and momentum.” Even with good grades, she opted to withdraw. Some years later, she had a son and found her calling in life. “At that moment, I knew I wanted to work with children. It was more than a want, it felt like this is what I was destined to do,” recalls Allen-Cowan. She knew she needed to return to CCM and focus on what she really wanted to achieve.

Driven by a goal of providing the best life for her son, Allen-Cowan enrolled back in CCM and attended classes online, while working full time. When it came time to attend in-person classes, feelings of being overwhelmed took her “out of her comfort zone,” but through arduous work and perseverance, she made the Dean’s List. It was the following semester that she met Dr. Melissa Kasmin. Allen-Cowan describes Kasmin as “so much more than your average professor.”

She adds, “I will always remember after her first class just how blown away I was. I was so inspired by what she does. Teacher, mother, professor, ‘Dr. Amazing’ work-life balance. If she can do it, I can do it.”

Allen-Cowan went on to be one of the first CCM students to earn the Child and Family Studies associate degree along with the Childcare Specialist and Child Development Associate certificates (CDA). Stacking the degree and certificates made her an excellent candidate for immediate employment. She was offered a position in a local school. She took her advisor’s advice, “ Don’t let anybody limit you.”

“Dr. Kasmin opened my eyes to the person I was, but was too scared to see,” says Allen-Cowan. “She saw a woman who feared her potential, yet refused to let it go to waste. I honestly owe everything I have achieved thus far to Dr. Kasmin’s support.”