COM HONORS STUDENT OVERCOMES OBSTACLES TO SUCCEED
TEXAS CITY -- College of the Mainland student and part-time employee Tammy Greenshaw is determined to make peoples’ lives better.
“If I can help a few people, it’ll be worth it to me,” Greenshaw said. “I can’t save the world, but I know I can probably help people see things a lot more clearly and avoid a whole lot of pain and heartache for them and the people that love them.”
Greenshaw, 52, and the mother of six children, will graduate from COM this spring with an associate degree in social science. She’ll transfer to the University of Houston-Clear Lake in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science.
Greenshaw is thankful to the community at COM for giving her an opportunity to turn her life around.
A Corpus Christi native, Greenshaw graduated from Delmar College with a nursing degree in 1993.
She had a promising career but she made bad choices that led to drug charges.
“It took everything away from me in the end,” Greenshaw said. “I lost my nursing career.”
While incarcerated, Greenshaw decided she would find a way to turn her life around.
“I did what I did, and I paid the price,” Greenshaw said. “I always have to remember to set goals to make a better future.”
When Greenshaw was paroled she moved to Texas City and soon thereafter enrolled at COM where she was determined to achieve academic excellence.
“I came here and I got my background check,” Greenshaw said. “The lady said ‘this doesn’t define who you are today.’ I didn’t tell that lady thank you that day, but I really should have thanked her.”
An honors student, Greenshaw was awarded the 2010-11 Senior Adult scholarship and a 2011-12 COM Unity scholarship. She’d like to start a scholarship for individuals who have overcome similar hardships.
In addition to earning the degree, Greenshaw said she’s learned valuable skills in the classroom.
“I’ve learned how to write well, and I have a much better understanding of psychology and sociology,” Greenshaw said. “I’ve learned a lot from Collegiate High School students. They’re focused. They’re students that want to learn. They have a goal. They have a plan.”
Greenshaw also credits her academic advisor, Derick Hutchinson, with helping her achieve success.
“Although she came to campus with many challenges to face, she came with the most important characteristic of a successful college student – determination,” Hutchinson said. “Tammy is proof that no matter what challenges you face, if you want an education bad enough, it is possible.”
Greenshaw was so impressed with COM that she encouraged her husband, Jack, to enroll in the Welding program. He’s currently working toward becoming a master welder.
“I kept telling him how nice these people were to me and when he got here, he realized this is a really good place to come,” said Greenshaw, who lives with her husband in San Leon.
During her first year at COM, Greenshaw was hired at COM Press as a work-study employee.
“She’s not afraid of hard work,” said COM Press operator Nancy Chacon, Greenshaw’s supervisor. “She is very open about how she turned her life around. She has helped people she knows. She’s very giving, very loving.”
“She has come a long way. She had to start from scratch. She doesn’t like Bs and Cs. She always strives for an A. She’s not happy with a low A. She wants a high A.”
Greenshaw was hired as a part-time employee at COM Press and plans on working there even when she graduates this spring and begins taking classes at UHCL.
COM has left a lasting impression on Greenshaw, who is grateful for her opportunity to study and work at the College.
“Everybody here knew I had a plan and a goal,” Greenshaw said. “And everybody here has helped me succeed.”
College of the Mainland offers a wide range of classes, from nationally accredited associate degrees and certifications to skills, hobbies and trades. COM has an excellent professor-to-student ratio that helps instructors connect with their classes. We’re the launch pad for success stories throughout the Mainland.