“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Wanda Edmonson ’19 CPS thought of this quote from Maya Angelou as a mantra throughout her time earning a degree in Villanova’s College of Professional Studies. “It helped me focus on remaining persistent and never giving up in spite of any obstacles, challenging classes or assignments,” Edmonson says.

It didn’t go unnoticed. At the fourth annual CPS Awards Dinner, Dean Christine Kelleher Palus, PhD, presented Edmonson with the Grit Award — an honor that celebrates a student who has demonstrated exceptional passion, courage, persistence, commitment and strength of character during their academic studies at Villanova.

“Wanda is a passionate, energetic woman who will not let anything get in the way of accomplishing her goals,” Dean Palus said in her remarks. “Her drive and ambition never diminished, but have only strengthened over the years, as she delved deeper and deeper into her studies.”

A network coordinator at Verizon, Edmonson works on 4G and 5G networks, collaborating with engineers and a number of other departments to keep cell towers up and running. It’s a very technical role and, for years, she wanted to go back to school to get a technical degree.

“When I was finally ready,” Edmonson says, “I set a goal for myself and once I did, it was full speed ahead. I knew I had to rise to the occasion and do it.” Her goal was to complete a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Media and Technology in five years—and she did, adding a minor in Leadership Studies along the way. “There was no taking breaks for me. I had to be 100 percent committed, loyal to my goals and tough,” Edmonson says.

When she enrolled at Villanova, she still had two children at home. “They’re a little older now and have graduated, but they got to witness me studying and doing papers and assignments,” she says. “It was an avenue for me to talk to them about education, to set a good example.”

I set a goal for myself and once I did, it was full speed ahead.”

Wanda Edmonson ’19 CPS