Chatfield SM Drafts (Jan2024)

Scholar Spotlight: Felicia Lee

January 22, 2024

More than two decades after dropping out of school as a teenager, Felicia Lee headed back to the classroom to get her GED. At the age of 40, the mother of three children determined that not having that credential was holding her back from employment opportunities. Once she earned her GED, she set her sights on obtaining an associate degree.

“My kids were working on their education, and I wanted to do something positive,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to help people and would love to work in human services.”

In 2011, she began taking college classes on a part-time basis, eventually landing at Chatfield College in Over the Rhine in 2022. When the college announced it was closing shortly after she arrived, Felicia was disappointed but not deterred.

Like many older students who return to college later in life, Felicia faces some unique challenges. In addition to physical limitations with her hands, she struggles with transportation, technology, and courses like math in her pursuit to better her life through education. With three classes left until she reaches her milestone of earning an associate degree, Felicia is grateful for the mentoring and financial support she is receiving from The Chatfield Edge.

“My mentor, David Hesson, is helping me figure how what kinds of jobs are available when I have my degree and how I can pay for my classes,” Felicia said. She currently a student at Southern State and is the recipient of Chatfield’s Clem and Ann Buenger, Dr. Mary Lois Jung, and Wanda Worley Hill scholarships.

“When I am able to work, I can earn money to pay my bills, but school is extra. It helps to know that someone is out there who has your interests at heart,” Felicia said. While she was disappointed that Chatfield College closed, she believes that the current organization is helping many people with their dreams to pursue degrees, especially non-traditional students like her.

When asked what she might say to encourage older students she said, “You’re never too old to learn. People older than us are getting degrees. Don’t give up on your dreams – they are possible and within reach. You just need to have patience and the motivation to pursue them!”

The Chatfield Edge, a nonprofit that offers support to first-generation ad non-traditional students as they gain success in life through education, is looking for students like Felicia who need assistance, and mentors and donors who are willing to lend support to help them reach their dreams. Find out more at or contact us today at 513-875-3344.