Alissa Woods and David Hesson

Student Story: Meet Alissa Woods

June 15, 2023

Alissa Woods’ academic journey will eventually take her from her four-square-mile hometown of Blanchester, Ohio, to the metropolitan borough of Liverpool in Northwest England.

A current student at Southern State Community College, Alissa plans to finish her associate of art degree here in the United States. She will then travel 3,763 miles abroad to study for her bachelor’s degree in either anthropology or creative writing.

It’s an exciting time in this 28-year-old student’s life, and the five scholarships she receives from The Chatfield Edge are helping to make her dream a reality. She is the recipient of the BCUAA, Class of 1961, Ann E. Fender, Virgil G. Gifford, and Cheryl A. Kern Scholarships. Because of our generous donors, The Chatfield Edge helps remove financial barriers for our scholars so they can transform their lives through education.

So how did Alissa get started on such a lofty plan? It started when she decided to pursue a postsecondary education in the Summer of 2021.

“I was initially afraid of going back to school. I thought I wasn’t cut out for it. I was afraid I couldn’t take tests anymore or remember any of the math I learned in high school.”

But she says that David Hesson, former dean of Chatfield College, was instrumental in helping her figure things out, such as what schools to apply to and which scholarships to pursue. David is the current interim executive director of The Chatfield Edge.

“It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” said Alissa after meeting with David.

Now, Alissa advises other adults who want to jump back into learning to ease into it. Her advice?

  • Look for institutions that offer smaller class sizes.
  • Try both online and in-person learning to see what works best for you.
  • Finally, keep yourself from getting burned out by staggering your classes so you never have a day where you feel overloaded with homework.

This slow and steady mindset has worked for Alissa, helping her earn all A’s last semester and start a new job at a daycare center.

If you are a non-traditional student like Alissa, returning to postsecondary education after a short or long break, please talk to us. We are here to help students like you and Alissa gain success in life through education. If you have questions, contact David Hesson at or 513-875-3344 ext. 112.

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