Sharmayne Schaffer Continues Academic Excellence at CWRU
Former Tri-C standout conducts research on opioid crisis, graduates magna cum laude
A lot has changed for Sharmayne Schaffer in the past four years.
In 2014, Schaffer returned to college after a decade hiatus. She enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College intending to take some credits and transfer them to John Carroll University, her original college.
Instead of a quick stint at Tri-C, she found her passion in the humanities. She became a member of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Scholars Academy, and began looking toward a career that could impact social justice.
“When I was at John Carroll, my interest was in communications,” Schaffer said. “I was still interested in that when I went back to school at Tri-C, but I took an urban studies class and really connected with the material. I knew what type of career I wanted after that.”
Four years later, she holds an associate degree from Tri-C and a bachelor’s degree in women's and gender studies from Case Western Reserve University. Her academic resume includes a long list of accolades: president of Phi Theta Kappa at Tri-C Eastern Campus, All-Ohio First-Team Academic Scholar, 2016 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Scholar, Cleveland Humanities Collaborative (CHC) scholar and magna cum laude graduate from one of the country’s most prestigious four-year institutions.
Schaffer is also an author of published research. Her analysis of mothers addicted to opioids and the differing public perceptions based on race was published in the summer 2018 issue of art|sci, Case’s arts and sciences magazine.
“I did a study taking a look at media articles related to pregnant women who used opioids and other drugs, compared by race and decade,” she said. “I wanted to see how women from different races and times were portrayed in the media. Overall, I found that black women were usually portrayed in a more negative light. Women from all races who abuse drugs were generally viewed as bad mothers, but black mothers were viewed in a particularly negative way.”
Schaffer graduated from Tri-C in 2016 and from Case this May. She wants to go back to Case and study for a graduate degree; but for now, she’s focused on gaining career experience as a social worker at Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.
“I’m planning to go back and get a master’s degree in social work, but probably on a part-time basis,” Schaffer said. “At some point in the future, I’d like to have my own nonprofit that serves women in the Cleveland area. That’s still a vivid dream of mine, and I want to work toward that.”
In just four years, Schaffer has found a new path in life. It’s something she believes she’d never have discovered if she hadn’t taken the first step and enrolled at Tri-C.
“The support I had at Tri-C opened so many doors for me,” she said. “So many people worked with me and wanted me to succeed. When I enrolled at Tri-C, I never thought a degree from Case would have been a possibility, but I was introduced to the CHC, I was able to transfer and I graduated near the top of my class. Without the support of Tri-C, it’s something I never would have attempted or achieved.”
July 17, 2018
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org