Saint of Santa Fe | LaTonya Middleton

Saint of Santa Fe | LaTonya Middleton

Santa Fe College student Latonya Middleton poses for a photo in the Rock Garden to be featured as a Saint of Santa Fe College on April 13, 2021. (Matt Stamey /Santa Fe College )

“After 25 years in cosmetology, I prepare to start my Master’s of Agribusiness at UF, thanks to the degrees I received at Santa Fe College. Despite success in cosmetology, I had become complacent, I was going through each day without challenging my mind.

What started as a secondary job to support myself in school, had become a primary focus and career spanning more than two decades. I attempted college classes many times, when work schedules interfered, I would stop. With encouragement from my family and friends, I changed my focus to investing in my education.

Age could have been a barrier when returning to the classroom for my A.A. in Business Administration, but my former experience was an asset. The exposure to diverse populations in salons and communication skills I carried forward, enabled me to communicate with my professors in a way that led to me being successful. I committed to complete a B.A.S. in Organizational Management and an A.S. in Business Administration. I had many “ah-ha” moments in class about how I could have handled situations differently in previous roles. I realized in my role as an area supervisor, I could have done more to set up personal goals for the 11 location managers I supervised. I could have helped them become more accountable for their growth and could have done more with onboarding of staff.

Now, as I prepare for my master’s degree, I look back and realize I have always had an interest in agriculture, as child I wanted to join the 4-H but never had the opportunity. Now I can combine management, economics, and agriculture all at once.My advice to anyone thinking about a career change – when you are ready to commit, there will be no excuse, no disappointing grade, no hurt feeling, no family emergency and no pandemic that will keep you from striving to reach your goals. “

LaTonya Middleton, B.A.S. in Organizational Management