Mother and Daughter Receive LVC Degrees Together

Mother and daughter Carol and Karis Brashear receive their degrees together at Lebanon Valley College

Evenings and weekends at the Brashear household were a time for studying. Not only for Karis Brashear as she finished her biology degree, but also for her mother Carol, as she pursued her bachelor’s degree in healthcare management.

Their years of hard work culminated during the College’s 150th Commencement on May 11, as Carol received her diploma and then presented Karis with hers.

“I can’t put into words how proud I am of her,” said Karis of her mom, who is the assistant in the College’s Physical Therapy Department.

“She earned her degree while holding a full-time job, being a mom, and more recently, a grandmother. I’m still wondering how she managed to do it. She is definitely one of my role models,” added Karis.

Carol will watch Karis as the last of her children to graduate from College and said, “I am so very proud of her. My children embody my success in life.”

Carol started taking classes in 2010. After Karis graduated from high school, she selected LVC because of the strength of its biology program in preparing students for medical school. 

“I was very lucky to have some exceptional professors who were willing to take their personal time to meet and discuss options that I could pursue to build my résumé and gain experience to make me more competitive,” said Karis. “Some even provided me with personal connections that led to shadowing and an internship.”

While Karis and Carol were pursuing careers in health care, they never took the same class simultaneously. However, they did collaborate when they could. 

“We took some of the same general education courses such as Elementary Statistics and Spanish,” said Karis. “My mom took those classes after me, so I gave her my notes and helped her sometimes. She would proofread my writing assignments. I really can’t count how many evenings we sat at home doing homework. It was a common occurrence!”

Carol already had an associate’s degree in medical secretarial science and rediscovered how much she enjoyed learning when she started taking classes again, this time at LVC. She also benefited from the support of her family, LVC co-workers, and the physical therapy students.

“It gave me a better understanding of what they were experiencing,” said Carol. “Having a plan and using short-term goals helped me. Looking at the list of courses I needed to take was overwhelming, so I did not think of it as a whole, just as ‘what's next.’ I took courses that would fit into my schedule such as late afternoon or night classes.”

She added, “It felt a bit awkward at first being in classes with the younger generation, but LVC has a great community of students and faculty, which made it easier,” said Carol. “If you are considering it, do not hesitate.”

Karis will apply to medical school this summer, while Carol will continue working at LVC. Carol ultimately hopes to either work one-on-one with individuals, helping them to understand the healthcare system, or making a difference in patient-centered care in a healthcare facility.