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Melody Ward, AAHS ’18, BSHS ’20

Melody WardMelody Ward’s newly earned degree is her passport to the next level of victim advocacy.

A TESU degree has helped Melody Ward realize her full potential. Her next chapter will focus on providing leadership-level advocacy so that others can do the same.

“My degree has significantly impacted my career and opened doors to many new opportunities in the human services field,” said Ward, a Bachelor of Science in Human Services (BSHS) 2020 graduate, who recently began her role as a sexual assault advocate with the Center for Family Services in southern New Jersey.

A 100-year-old organization with 1,400 staff members and volunteers, the Center for Family Services operates more than 70 programs – among them, the Services Empowering the Rights of Victims (SERV) program of which Ward is a part. “I’m immensely proud to be a part of the SERV team and have always been motivated to help others who are at risk. My new role allows me to focus on my passion: providing a voice to the voiceless.”

She and fellow SERV members routinely provide crisis intervention counseling, connection to resources and professional support to victims of sexual violence, domestic abuse and human trafficking through the program’s 24-hour hotline, virtual support groups and emergency shelters.

Ward was originally referred to TESU by an alum when she was considering the idea of returning to college years back. As she searched local programs based on her career objectives, the John S. Watson School of Public Service immediately surfaced.

“The School’s human services program was in line with the work I was doing at the time as a medical department secretary, and I knew it would take me in the direction I wanted to go professionally,” she noted. Ward enrolled in the School’s Associate in Arts in Human Services (AAHS) degree program where she was immediately exposed to the techniques and agencies necessary to serve the client populations to which she was already accustomed, with an emphasis on cultural diversity.

“Moving toward cultural equity and addressing health disparities in minority communities were driving forces in obtaining my degrees,” said Ward. “I loved the diversity of students in our online courses. During our Discussion Board assignments there were so many different perspectives and visions associated with how to best address the topics covered, that I always felt engaged.”

In what she described as a “nice push toward furthering her education,” Ward utilized the Dr. Merodie A. Hancock $500 Inauguration Voucher to enroll in the BSHS program. The voucher was offered at Hancock’s induction as TESU’s fourth president during its 2018 Commencement ceremonies. The leg up was an inducement for Ward to power ahead.

“My journey has taught me that it is never too late complete a major goal. The hardest part was getting started, once I enrolled, I knew that I had to finish. I’m now tackling my career with the same tenacity. I started in my current position during my last term at TESU, and my course work continues to help me in expanding my victim advocacy skills.”

Ward is not stopping there. Soon after fulfilling her BSHS degree requirements, she enrolled in the Watson School’s Master of Public Service Leadership degree program. Her selected track, Nonprofit Management, will ensure that she’s at the forefront of executivelevel decision-making and grantwriting management while expanding her knowledge of the laws and ethics governing public policy.

“TESU’s online course model was the only way I could have completed by degrees,” she noted. “I started attending school after having my second child, while continuing to work full time. Both of my children have medical issues that require a lot of my attention.”

Both of Ward’s sons, Roshard, age 14, and Roan, age 5, were born with the hereditary disorder Hemophilia that can cause sufferers to bleed uncontrollably as a result of the slightest injury. As a consequence, shepherding her sons through their rough-and-tumble years has held its share of challenges. “The mentors at TESU were always very sympathetic,” she said. “They understand that as online learners we have a lot going on and many distractions. I was able complete my course work anywhere, even when that ‘place’ happened to be a hospital waiting room.”

Her organization’s current social distancing protocols mean that Ward is often working from home while homeschooling her sons. To stay balanced, she has focused on self-care, which includes incorporating meditation into her routine and exercising more. “My family has also made it a point to eat dinner together every night. That goal can be challenging, yet ultimately very rewarding.”

Ward describes her family as being very supportive while she’s worked toward her degrees. “My siblings, parents and grandmother have made accommodations to support me through this entire journey. My biggest support system has been my husband, Roshard Sr.,” she noted. “He knew that I had dreams and would encourage me daily to work toward them, even when it required him to prepare dinner most nights.” Ward and her family live in Camden County, N.J. To learn more about the Center for Family Services, visit

To learn more about the programs available at the John S. Watson School of Public Service, please visit