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Beth Clites, CGS Student

“Not getting my bachelor’s degree was my biggest regret,” says Beth Clites. “I finished my associates degree and at the time, that was enough.”
But years later, after having focused her energy on raising her children, Beth’s circumstances changed, and she was a single mother who needed a job that would support her family. She accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh, where she currently works as an administrator in Pitt’s Purchasing Services department, and Pitt’s staff tuition benefit gave her a chance to stop regretting and revisit the idea of pursuing an undergraduate degree.
 “I had a lot of concerns. Would I be able to handle it? Would I be able to juggle everything? I’m a mom first and everything else comes after that, and I was worried about what it would take to get back into an academic style of thinking. I wasn’t sure that the professors would see me as being as important as the traditional aged undergraduates. I registered for one class and I kept it a secret. I didn’t tell anyone so that if it didn’t work out, that would be the end of it,” Beth remembers.
But things did work out—rather spectacularly in fact—and one class became an academic plan towards a Legal Studies degree.
Says Beth, “CGS made it very convenient—they offer online classes, summer classes, in-person classes after work. And the faculty made me feel respected—I was a part of things. My advisors worked with me to get me through the program because I didn’t want to stretch it out indefinitely.”
Beth credits the overwhelming support and encouragement of her supervisor in Purchasing and her two children--who are also University of Pittsburgh students—in helping to make her plan a reality.
“When I told them I was enrolling, I assured them that I wouldn’t get in the way of their college experiences,” says Beth. Ironically, she and her daughter—who is pursuing three majors at Pitt—ended up taking two courses together. And loving it.
“It was wonderful. And I like to think that, in part, seeing her mom decide to take on the challenge of returning to school while working full time helped to motivate her to fully embrace her opportunity and take advantage of everything a Pitt education has to offer.”
As her graduation date approached, Beth made the decision to pursue a new dream—attending graduate school. Through a special program that’s offered by CGS and Pitt’s law school, Beth applied and was accepted to the Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program early, which means the credits she obtains in the MSL program will also count toward her bachelor’s degree.
“I have a passion for the environment and my current position is in purchasing, so I plan to combine both of those interests into a focus on environmental and business law,” says Beth. 
 “It’s been incredible to have a second chance. I would love it if everyone could do that.”