Cara Askew

Masters of Public Administration
Continuing & Professional Education

Cara Askew had it all figured out. Get her associate degree, transfer to Cal State Long Beach and maybe seek a master’s before heading out to the work force. Then life happened.

After becoming the first person in her family to earn a college degree, Askew transferred from Compton College to CSULB to study physiology.

“For those two years, I was focused. I was better in those two years (at Compton College) than I was in high school,” Askew said.

Shortly after the start of the fall semester at CSULB, Askew’s brother landed in jail and her family needed financial help, so she withdrew from classes and got a second job.

When her brother was released two years later, Askew re-applied to CSULB, but discovered standards had changed and her GPA wasn’t high enough. She was turned away. Askew decided to boost her GPA by taking additional classes at the community college and enrolled in CSULB’s College of Continuing and Professional Education. In 2006, she was re-admitted and two years later, earned her B.A.

Life again interrupted her educational plans when she found herself pregnant shortly after receiving her diploma, putting her plans for a master’s degree on hold.

Askew eventually enrolled in the CCPE program for a second time and is graduating with a Master of Public Administration degree with her 7-year daughter, Kamaria, and family in attendance. Missing, however, is her brother, who is back in jail.

“But he’s proud of me,” she said.