Sue Ann “Sam” Shipley (second from right) encouraged daughters Ashley (right) and Katelynn (second from left) to continue their education after high school and earn college degrees. Their perseverance, hard work and dedication, in turn, inspired Sam to pursue her college degree as a nontraditional student. The WV Invests Grant Program made Potomac State College an enticing choice for Sam. Also pictured is Sam’s husband, Steve.
Although she had never attended college, Sue Ann ‘Sam’ Shipley always encouraged her two daughters to continue their education by earning their college degrees, which both have completed.
Sam, who serves as an executive assistant at First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union, was inspired by her daughters’ dedication and in the winter of 2018 decided it was time for her to go to college.
Twenty-eight years after graduating high school, Sam began her journey as a college student. “I decided to start college at the age of 44 because it was my turn. Being a young mom was hard and wanting better for my daughters was my priority for years. Once they graduated college and became successful, I felt I needed to become better educated for my own success,” Sam said.
Sam initially enrolled for the Spring 2019 semester at WVU Online, but after learning that she qualified for the West Virginia Invests Grant Program at Potomac State College, she decided to transfer to the Keyser campus.
The West Virginia Invests Grant Program is a state-funded financial aid program designed to cover the cost of tuition and fees for certificate or associate degree programs in high-demand fields for qualifying residents. Eligible majors at Potomac State include agriculture, business and economics, computer information systems, criminal justice, and engineering.
“Having the WV Invests grant has helped relieve the financial burden of attending school. It is a great program for West Virginians like me,” said Sam.
She expects to graduate with her associate degree in Spring 2022. “After earning my associate degree, I plan to complete my bachelor’s degree,” Sam added.
In addition to working full time at the credit union and earning a degree, Sam holds a National Federation of State High School Associations West Virginia Coaching Certificate and serves as an assistant cheer coach at Frankfort High School in Short Gap, W.Va. She attended basketball games and practices almost every night yet kept up with her homework and managed to make the President’s List her first semester.
Ashley, Sam’s oldest daughter, was the first to begin her college career, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University. She also earned her master’s degree in industrial relations from WVU and is currently employed as a human resources partner at WVU Potomac State College.
Katelynn, the youngest daughter, also began her journey at WVU earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is also a licensed cosmetologist.
“I’ve always looked up to my mom, and seeing her juggle work, school and coaching, all while being an amazing mom, wife, daughter and sister, she’s truly an inspiration. I’m a proud daughter and can’t wait to watch her walk across that stage in 2022,” Ashley said.