JOY IN THE JOURNEY: Shelby Myers '23 CPS found her passion for helping others after tragedy
JOY IN THE JOURNEY.
Shelby Myers ’23 CPS often says “the joy is in the journey, not just the destination.” And in just a few months, Shelby will reach the end of her journey to a bachelor’s degree in Public Service and Administration, accomplished while working a full time job, raising her beautiful family, playing chauffeur to her kids to get them to and from their many activities, and anything else that came her way. Shelby says, “I am a proud mother of five beautiful children, who come first in my life and who have thoroughly enjoyed this ride with me.”
“Quite honestly, without Villanova’s College of Professional Studies this wouldn’t have been possible. CPS enables me to do distance learning, so I’m able to be a Mom, have a career I love, and when the kids go to bed that’s time I’ve carved out for me; that’s my time to be a student.”
When it comes to the journey itself, Shelby appreciates every single moment because she knows better than most that time is precious, and the path you are on in life can change in an instant. After starting her family, Shelby had her own photography business and considered herself a marketer at the core. Shelby and her family’s life was turned upside down when her son, Clayton, came home from school with a common virus that ravaged his little body, resulting in many months in the hospital and ultimately an epilepsy diagnosis. Clayton came home functioning at the level of an infant instead of the active six year old that he was.
Navigating their new life with a child that required daily home care was a challenge and Shelby found that resources and advocates were sorely lacking. In 2012, Clayton passed away. It was this journey, this experience, that led Shelby to change careers and become an advocate for others who found themselves trying to navigate the same confusing system. She became the advocate that her and her family needed and found her passion for helping others. Shelby created a nonprofit called Clayton’s Hope, which aims to raise money and awareness for epilepsy and epilepsy research.
In 2017, Shelby embarked on her journey at Villanova with a major in Public Service and Administration. “I stress the importance of education to all my children. Earning my degree was always on my bucket list, but Clayton is one of the reasons I went back to school. My college journey is essentially his college journey. And when I graduate, I’ll be holding a diploma that he’ll never hold.”
That same year, Shelby started a career as a special needs advocate at Bayada, a home health care agency. It enabled Shelby to pursue her passion, as well as continue on with her education. When 2020 came around, Shelby’s career path and educational journey became even more intertwined. Shelby took on a new role within Bayada in the Government Affairs office where she advocates for better homecare policies and regulations. "My classes in CPS always provided me some takeaway or some new knowledge that I could take back to my work and immediately apply. Whether it was a class in leadership, public health, public affairs, statistics or even biology, I found ways to take my learning and make it useful to me in my life."
Fast forward to today, Shelby is still reflecting on the beauty of the journey and planning for the future. After graduation in May, she will be starting a master’s program at Brown University in Public Health. "I chose this program because it aligns so well with what I've already done at Villanova. I have a plan for how to balance my life, career and my education. It will help me continue to lead and support my team and my clients."
Of key importance to Shelby is that she didn't walk this path solo, she did it with the support of her family. "I truly mean it when I say I couldn't have done this alone. I couldn't have finished this degree without the love and support of my family. This journey has been so special to me because I've had them cheering me on and encouraging me all the way. I can't believe in a few months I'll graduate, I'll have reached the end, it's bittersweet. I love Villanova."
If you're ready to earn your degree, Villanova University's College of Professional Studies offers the resources you need to go back to school.