‘I want to be an example for my children:' Mother to graduate from Lehman College after 17 years of deferring

A mother will be walking across the stage at Lehman College this week and earning a bachelor's degree after nearly 17 years of deferring. 
When Fatema Mia was a young girl, she had big plans for her future.
“I was thinking one day when I grow up, I will be a doctor,” she says. "I didn't think about marriage and stuff, I was? just always think about studying."
However, Mia says plans changed when she was 15 and arranged to be married in Bangladesh and then immigrated to America at 20.
“I had to stop it because of family obligations,” she says. “taking care of the mother-in-law, the father-in-law, the home, everything, the children."
But Mia’s dream of attending college never escaped her mind. She says she registered for school in 2006, before she stopped to raise her kids. 
Then in 2017 she re-enrolled. Now, she’s just days away from being a graduate of Lehman College with a bachelor's degree in sociology and childhood education.
When the mother takes a walk down the stage Thursday morning, she says her three children will be right there rooting her on.
“I want to be an example for my children, to show them it is never too late,” she says. “My daughter always says, ‘I'm proud of you, mom.’”
Mia is a Jeannette Foundation Scholar Grant recipient. The Jeannette Rankin Foundation provides unrestricted Scholar Grants to students across the nation who identify as women or nonbinary, are 35 and older, and demonstrate financial need. To learn more about funding opportunities visit rankinfoundation.org