Without hesitation, Sony Palmateer cites teamwork, as the reason she and husband Mark will both graduate from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this June.
Sony, a full-time nursing major attends school during the day, while Mark, an electrical engineering technology major, is enrolled in the Division of Continuing Education’s evening sessions. Married since 1993, the couple schedules their time carefully to allow for cross over, periods together. They also share responsibility for household chores such as cooking. We try to help each other out with everything, Sony said. We proofread each other’s homework. It helps to reduce stress.
The couple re-located to Assonet in 1998. Mark earned an associate degree from Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut, and also served in the United States Navy for seven years as a hull maintenance technician. His work background includes buying, fixing up, and renting a number of houses. Sony moved to America from Brazil in 1991, bringing with her a teaching degree. She worked private duty with a patient who died last year, but more recently, had to curtail working in order to focus on her studies.
Mark is hoping to get a job in electrical engineering design once he earns his degree. Which company will take me, I don’t know. I’ve made it this far and would love to use my education to get into the field, he said. Sony is participating in a mentorship program at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. She is leaving her options open about future employment. I’m looking in every direction and trying to decide which is the best door to take and walk through, she said. Her eventual goal is to work in an operating room and return to UMass Dartmouth to receive a master’s degree. Some of my instructors have encouraged me to get a master’s degree, and it provided a boost to my self-esteem, she said. Because English is her second language, Sony had to start from zero, when arriving on campus. In addition to English, she also speaks Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian.
Both found ample support to complete their university studies in four years. Our experience has been positive, Mark said. The instructors go out of their way to assist you with anything you don’t understand. The Division of Continuing Education program is a good one for people with associate degrees. They make it convenient for transfer students like myself and beneficial for older people in the community who need to finish their degrees and work during the day, he said.
Continuing Education Academic Advisor Barbara Brown said, It’s exciting for the DCE to see two adults get through school and keep their relationship together and so positive. We offer our congratulations to Mark and Sony.