June 6, 2016

Alisha Prince is a resident of Ansell Gardens Apartments in Portsmouth, Va. Her relationship with CHP Senior Resident Services Coordinator Tonya Speller began in 2013 when Prince started volunteering at the rental community’s on-site Academic Center. Already enrolled in her first year of college at Old Dominion University, Prince applied for a scholarship through the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) at Speller’s urging. Prince received the scholarship that year and the two years that followed.

CHP Resident Services Assistant Natasha Mitchell recently sat down for a brief interview with Prince. The following is an excerpt from their conversation:

Q (Mitchell): What did you major in?

A (Prince): Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology.

Q (Mitchell): What made you want to pursue your degree?

A (Prince): This might seem cliche, but watching crime shows sparked my interest in the criminal justice field. Once I began studying the subject more it really became my passion.

Q (Mitchell): Do you plan on going back to school for your master’s degree?

A (Prince): Yes, I do. I have to get my master’s in Forensics because that’s the field I want to work in.

Q (Mitchell): Were there any challenges you faced that made you want to give up or that made it hard to continue?

A (Prince): Well, one of the main things was my boyfriend passing away. That made it pretty hard because I was having to plan a funeral and focus on my grades at the same time. Also this last year, my senior year, I had five courses on my schedule; I had never taken that many classes in a semester before, so that was hard.

Another thing was just balancing my school work load, doing community service, and working two jobs. I hear people all the time say they can’t work and go to school, but you can if you really want it.

Q (Mitchell): How did the NAHMA Scholarships impact you and your education? 

A (Prince): The NAHMA Scholarships helped me a lot! Of course it helped financially, but it also helped motivate me to continue even when I had so much going on in my life because I knew I couldn’t waste that money. It was definitely a blessing to receive the scholarship three years in row and I’m thankful.

Q (Mitchell): Do you have any advice for someone enrolled in college or considering going to college?

A (Prince): I would say make sure you network because you want to make sure you have connections after you graduate for jobs and things like that. Don’t be scared to ask questions and build connections. Stay involved with extra curricular activities and make sure you balance that and school work. Keep positive people around you so that when things get hard you have people to lift you up. Study, study study! Push yourself. Make sure you learn to prioritize. Oh, and don’t procrastinate. That’s my biggest piece of advice because work can pile up. If you want it go for it, definitely apply for scholarships. It definitely helps.

According to Mitchell, Prince has a bright future ahead of her. “She is always smiling each time you see her and she was able to remain positive through all the hardships she faced. Alisha pushed herself to achieve her goal and is ready to tackle her next goal, her master’s degree. We are very proud of her!” said Mitchell.