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As we continue to highlight the wide array of students who spend time in the DOECL, we’re turning our attention to Latonya Dalton, a non-traditional student and 49-year-old mother of three and caretaker.

Dalton’s path to UNC was far from straightforward. Although she had always been a Tar Heel fan, she confessed that she felt she came to Carolina “on a fluke.” She first started her career in her education at Rockingham Community College in 1990, but dropped out after a few semesters, starting a family at 22. In 2010, two years after getting divorced, she returned to school part time at Alamance Community College–then, after dropping out and re-enrolling several times, she eventually returned in 2017 as a full-time student.

Finally, in 2019, she decided to apply to transfer to Carolina. She shared that she “didn’t think I was going to get in,” but “felt that I might have a shot” given her high GPA at Alamance Community College. But, despite this doubt she was admitted, and began studying at Chapel Hill in the fall, at age 47, with an expected graduation date of 2022.

Extending her education in Childhood Education, Dalton is pursuing a degree in Human Development and Family Studies at UNC. She says she chose the major “because I love helping people and interacting with families.”

Although Dalton is not an English major, she has been able to bring her rich experiences and academic prowess to the department. Most notably, she has taken Dr. Meta Jones’ upper-level course on Black Arts Movement to the Movement for Black Lives.

In fact, Dalton shared, Dr. Jones wanted Dalton to share her story “because she felt that my story should be heard in hopes to inspire other non-traditional students not to give up.”