Lyndy Mothershead, 19, of Easton, used her two years at Chesapeake College to come out of her shell to become a campus leader and forge her own path into the future.
On May 25, the Easton High School graduate accepts the John T. Harrison Award, Chesapeake’s top student honor. The award annually goes to a graduating student who shows academic excellence, outstanding leadership and a dedication to community service. Mothershead graduates with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a 3.79 grade point average.
The hard-working student has been saving money for college throughout her years. Thanks to grants and scholarships funding her studies at Chesapeake, Mothershead will be able to put her savings toward a bachelor’s degree. Mothershead worked in the fast food industry since she was 15 years old, and eventually became an assistant manager at a local establishment.
“I think I get my work ethic from my mom,” Mothershead said of her mother Kathy Mothershead. “She’s worked very hard to raise my sister and me, and to provide for us. She is a great role model.”
In high school, the student’s activities were limited to band and yearbook. Mothershead decided to make a change in college, though, and sought out opportunities for campus involvement at Chesapeake.
“I’m pretty shy, so I really had to step out of my comfort zone to get involved on campus,” Mothershead said.
She pushed herself to join the Student Government Association and complete the Leadership Academy. When her high GPA led to a Phi Theta Kappa invitation, she joined the honor society and later became an officer. She represented Chesapeake at the national Phi Theta Kappa convention “Nerd Nation” at National Harbor this spring. Mothershead also took Honors classes which required more personal interaction with faculty. This spring, she was a campus reporter for the Student News Bureau.
Earlier this month, Mothershead was named to the All Maryland First Academic Team and honored at a statewide reception.
Mothershead’s campus involvement grew into leadership as she was determined to see each project through and learn from every experience. Faculty and staff found Mothershead to be reliable and willing to take on extra responsibilities, including helping other students.
“As a student, Lyndy is a delight. She asks interesting questions and makes insightful comments that keep the conversations going; she's not afraid to take academic risks; and she is a dependable peer. She also filled the role of Vice President of Scholarship of our PTK chapter during her last semester at Chesapeake, and she has worked with the other chapter members to take care of various chapter activities. She's a go-getter, and she's going to be very, very successful,” said PTK Advisor and Assistant Professor of English Jeremy Crowe.
Mothershead said she found at the Chesapeake the experience she needed for the first two years of college.
“It was hard to see my high school friends go off to four-year colleges after we graduated. But going to Chesapeake College looked like a smart financial decision from the beginning, and I didn’t feel quite ready to go off to a four-year university and live in a dorm,” Mothershead said. “I see now that I made the right decision for more than just financial reasons. I’ve grown as a person and learned so much about myself at Chesapeake. Everyone at Chesapeake is friendly and supportive, so I felt like I could try new things. In my early days on campus, I saw that Chesapeake is a place of opportunity for everyone.”
That self-realization, Mothershead said, is a vital part of the college experience and will serve her well as she transfers this fall to the Honors College at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She plans to major in cyber security with a minor in East Asian Studies. Her interest in cyber security was sparked by the television drama Criminal Minds, she said, adding that she had originally wanted to be a chef.
Adopted from China as a baby, Mothershead said her interest in Chinese culture deepened when she was working on a compare/contrast project in her Honors Human Growth and Development class.
“The topic was about maternity in China and the United States,” Mothershead said. “It was interesting for me to compare different approaches and traditions. I’d like to do more of that in the future, so that’s why I’m interested in East Asian studies. I’m going to take Chinese classes at UMBC, and I hope to eventually visit China.”
Mothershead is ready for the move to Baltimore County and looks forward to earning her bachelor’s degree. Her goal is to work in cyber security at the Department of Homeland Security.