Website-Carnesha Johnson-Scholarship-Spotlight

Scholar Spotlight: Carnesha Johnson

June 18, 2024

Her grandmother was her heart and soul, her best friend, and the one who taught her how to be a woman and a mom. When Carnesha Johnson lost her grandmother two years ago to Covid-19, she experienced a time of intense grief and, ironically, intense motivation. She committed to getting her GED and started her educational journey to become an occupational therapy assistant.

“I love to help people and my goal is to graduate with my degree and work in the geriatric community,” Carnesha said. “I want to help people regain activity, especially those recovering from strokes.”

The mother of two children, a twelve-year old son and an eight-year-old daughter, Carnesha knows what it means to work hard to reach her goals. To support her family, she has worked in the fast-food, retail, hospital, and home health industries. While earning money was her main objective, the thought of going back to school was never far from her mind. Neither was her grandmother.

“When the pandemic hit, I had a few home health clients in their nineties who I would sit with and listen to their stories,” she recalled. “And then when I got off work, I called my Grandma.”

Considered a non-traditional student due to beginning college in her late thirties, Carnesha learned about The Chatfield Edge while attending Cincinnati State. After meeting with Program Director, David Hesson, and her mentor, Dr. Jeff Bauer, she felt extra motivation kicking in.

“A lot of people want to see me win. David checks in on me and I know I can call on my mentor anytime,” she said. “I go from being in school to doing field work in hospitals to being a mom and sometimes I need support.” She believes that her connection to The Chatfield Edge has helped her realize that she’s not the only one out there who is starting school at a later age and sometimes needs extra support.

The financial support she receives from The Chatfield Edge helps her afford necessities like the gas and expensive medical books she needs to stay in school. She is the recipient of Chatfield’s Ann E. Fender and Timothy Smith Scholarships.

Her message to other non-traditional students thinking about taking steps toward their educational goals is this: “It’s never too late to go back. I plan to be finished by the time I’m 39. It’s hard work and you must be dedicated. Don’t worry about people who tell you that you are starting too late and don’t listen to your own voices that tell you that you should have done this years ago. Just do it!  In the end you will be very proud of yourself.”

If you or someone you know is a non-traditional or first-generation student looking to further your goals through college, trade school, or a certificate program, contact David Hesson at or 513-875-3344 ext. 115. We are here to help you gain success in life through education.