Gary’s Raven Osborne receiving first of her 2 spring diplomas Friday afternoon (5/5)
During the past two academic years while Raven Osborne attended Purdue University Northwest, few if any of her classmates or professors knew she was studying her way through college and high school simultaneously.
By the time a CBS camera crew left campus April 25 after shooting footage of her studying in the library and attending a class, her secret was well on its way to becoming history. Now it’s her future that is poised to become a big deal.
After graduating from Purdue Northwest Friday afternoon (5/5) with a baccalaureate degree, she will obtain her high school diploma a couple weeks later from 21st Century Charter School. Then this fall, in an ironic twist, Osborne, who turns 19 in August, will return to 21st Century Charter as a teacher.
Passion to teach
The Gary resident is not the first PNW student to earn a university degree before her time, so to speak, nor the youngest. But she is the first to anyone’s recollection at PNW to obtain baccalaureate and high school diplomas at the close of the same academic term.
“Raven never said anything to me about her unique situation,” PNW Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Su-Jeong Wee said. “Although she was rather quiet, she did talk about her passion to teach.”
Her passion and drive to succeed also have been impressive.
Osborne’s unique story begins at 21st Century Charter, whose students are required to take advantage of higher education learning opportunities on a college campus. While most of the school’s students earn a few college credits, some gain enough for an associate degree.
After earning hers at Ivy Tech Community College, Osborne opted to keep the credit meter running by enrolling during fall 2015 at Purdue Northwest, where another 60 credit hours would earn her a bachelor’s degree.
Mission accomplished, as she is leaving PNW with a degree in sociology, a minor in early childhood education and enough applied credits to position her for high school graduation.
“It was delightful having her in class, because she conveyed an interest and intelligence about the issues raised,” Associate Professor of Sociology Ralph Cherry said. “Her qualities seem to include being consistent, planful, thoughtful and thorough.”
Osborne also impressed Wee with her ability to express “ideas and opinions in thoughtful ways,” as well as by demonstrating a classroom demeanor the professor described as “professional, responsible, punctual and very considerate.”
Though acknowledging he was unaware that Osborne “was younger than traditional students” when he taught her in two classes at PNW, Cherry said, “She was poised, and she did not seem to be intimidated by interacting with older students. Those are ingredients for future success.”
Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a comprehensive regional university within the Purdue University system, has two Northwest Indiana campuses in Hammond and Westville. With more than 15,000 students enrolled last fall and nearly 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, Purdue Northwest is Indiana’s fifth largest public university. For more information about PNW, visit www.pnw.edu.