Tenea Watson Nelson

Year of Entry: 1994 Age at Entry: 13 Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland

The Right Time

Tenea Watson and sisters

I was extremely excited to enter the program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) at Mary Baldwin College. Most people don’t know that my admission was initially deferred for a year, and that time allowed me to mature and be better prepared for the challenges of PEG and MBC. PEG was the right choice for me at the time as I had already made the decision to pursue a career in the sciences. Attending a liberal arts college, however, also allowed me to pursue my interests in math, music, and Spanish. My first semester I was blown away by a MBC choir performance, and I joined, even though it was too late to add the class for credit. I was with the choir until I graduated. I was always involved with something! Even my senior year job as a residential computer consultant has served me well over the years; yes, my iPhone is jail broken. Both PEG and MBC taught me that I could have many interests beyond what I chose for a career. I don’t have to be really good at doing just one thing at one time. The challenge, now that I am older, is finding the time for all of my interests!

Invested In Success

What I absolutely loved about my time in PEG at MBC was the one-to-one interaction I was able to have with my professors. I certainly worked hard to get good grades, and I was able to have tutoring sessions with the professors themselves! Their willingness to invest in my individual success helped me maintain my confidence in science and math to the point where I applied and was accepted into PhD programs straight from MBC. I had people who believed in my success and invested in it. In fact, 13 years later, I still have people at MBC who believe in my success, and are still invested in it!

Now that I am in my early thirties, I can say that PEG has given me the opportunity to significantly further my career while easing decisions regarding finding a balance between work and family. Particularly for women pursuing advanced degrees, it is often a struggle to decide how to balance career with having children. Thanks to PEG, I have had my PhD for seven years now, and have been able to build my career in the way I desire. If and when I decide to have children, I am secure both career-wise and financially.