When a sudden layoff left Sharon Taliaferro (’17) jobless, she capitalized on the opportunity to make a change go back to school.
Sharon Taliaferro’s transition back to school came quite unexpectedly. She had a longstanding career as a banking officer at one of the nation’s largest banks. “I worked there for 22 years,” she told us. One day, they received word that their department would be shut down. “My whole job site received a layoff because the bank decided to transfer the work to a Southern state,” she said. Instead of allowing this news to shake her, she took advantage of the sudden shift in her life. “I decided it was time for a career change.”
And she certainly did change her career. She immediately enrolled in the human services program at Lancaster Bible College’s Philadelphia location. “My layoff took place on a Thursday and I was sitting in my first class the very next Tuesday!” she said excitedly, recalling the start of her academic career. Sharon’s husband, Urbano, graduated from LBC | Capital – Philly and she had attended a class with him before to get a feel for the institution. That, coupled with her burgeoning interest in ministry and service, was enough to convince her to enroll. “My husband and I had been working with a youth group for about four years,” she explained. “And I thought it would be nice to touch hearts instead of pockets. My plan was to work full-time helping young people.”
Her education at LBC | Capital – Philadelphia was a pivotal part of that plan. “The curriculum in the human services provided me with the academic and spiritual training that is essential to meeting the needs of the community,” she said. While she loved her classes, she told us that the faculty really made a difference in her life– especially Dr. Patricia Wright, the program director of our human services degree. “Dr. Wright always reminded us that we were social change agents and we were called to serve as ambassadors of Christ,” said Sharon thoughtfully. “Our professors had a way of pulling and stretching you out of your comfort zone and producing or finding skills in you that you weren’t aware you had. I loved that my professors were experienced in their fields and taught from a Christian worldview.”
Of course, going back to school at any point has its challenges – especially when balancing a busy schedule and caring for a family. There came a point during Sharon’s educational career that was especially difficult. “My last two years were more difficult because I was dealing with some family challenges that included my mother’s decline health due to Alzheimer’s,” she explained. “One thing that definitely helped was a personal prayer life and the prayers shared at the beginning and at the end of each class. My spiritual support came from home, church and school. Despite the challenges, I feel blessed to know the Lord gives all that we need to be successful and live our life for Him.”
Today, Sharon is a graduate student at the Counseling and Psychology Graduate School of Professional Studies at Rosemont College, working toward a master’s degree in clinical counseling – and just completed her first semester with a 4.0 grade point average. What does she want to do once she’s completed her graduate education? “My plan is to become a family counselor and to follow the path God is leading me on,” she said.
Although she graduated from LBC in 2017, Sharon told us that the things she learned in her human services and Bible classes still affect her today. “My life was most impacted by the Christian perspectives taught to me by professionals in the human services field,” she said. “God ordered my footsteps and theirs. All of this was not just for an education and a degree, but to be used for God’s purpose to serve a world that is desperately in need of Him.”