Student’s Newman search comes full circle

Aug 08, 2018
Amanda Crawford

Amanda Crawford first considered Newman for her higher education as a junior in high school. And then, as they say, life happened. Now, after more than 18 years after first considering Newman, she is experiencing what it’s like to be a Jet.

She and her husband, Matt, discovered they were going to have their first child, Marc, before she had the chance to enroll in college after high school. Since Matt had to leave for Air Force basic training, Amanda found herself putting family first for a while.

The Crawfords ended up moving to Wichita Falls, Texas, because of Matt’s Air Force career.

“Matt is still active duty Air Force, currently a technical sergeant,” explained Amanda. “He will be promoted to master sergeant Sept. 1, 2018. He is an electrician and currently on his fifth deployment to the Middle East.”

Amanda and Matt Crawford
Amanda and Matt Crawford

When Matt received orders to transfer to McConnell Air Force Base in 2005, Amanda once again considered Newman.

She said, “Matt and I agreed that I would start college when Marc went to kindergarten. That is when I started looking at Newman again. Unfortunately, with the very real possibility of moving soon, Newman was not an option that was feasible.”

So with the likelihood of new transfer orders for Matt from the Air Force, Amanda enrolled in an online program at the University of Phoenix where she earned an Associate of Art in business in 2009 and a Bachelor of Science in business with an accounting concentration in 2011.

Amanda was right about the possibility of moving. She and her family have moved six times since their marriage in 2001. They are currently in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the moderator of the tribunal for the Diocese of Little Rock, where she began working after their move in 2014.

During the 2015-16 academic year, Amanda enrolled in the St. Gregory University online theology program, but in 2017, that university closed its doors.

“When St. Gregory’s closed in December of 2017, the Diocese of Little Rock worked with Newman University to transfer all of our classes and credits to Newman to allow those of us in the third and fourth year to finish our degrees.

“I have successfully completed all of my classes for a Bachelor of Arts in theology from Newman,” she said. “And I am currently enrolled in graduate theology classes as prerequisites for Canon Law School.”

Amanda said her long-awaited Newman experience has been very positive.

“There is a lot to like about Newman. But the thing that I have found most helpful is the staff. Anytime I have needed help with any of the steps during the transfer process or getting enrolled in graduate classes, everyone has been so incredibly helpful and nice.”

Matt and Amanda now have three boys, and her higher education journey, she said, hasn’t always been easy.

the Crawford boys
Amanda and Matt’s three children (l to r) Marc, Ellis and Adam

“Everyone struggles in their own lives. My educational struggle has been finding a balance between work, school and family. Between my full-time job, Matt’s deployments, my school, the boys’ schedules and all the other life stuff that pops up, there is a real dependence on God to make everything work out the way that it is supposed to.

“My faith plays a very large roll in my life. My mom taught me early in life that God will put you where you need to be when you need to be there, and for the reason you need to be there. I try very hard not to stress over the things that I cannot control. I know that if I hand my life — the good, the bad, the blessings and the stresses — over to God, He will sort it out and hand it back to me in a way that I, in my flawed humanity, will be able to handle.”