Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2019 #RioGrad Student Speaker Desiree Williams

Photo of Desiree Williams in graduation cap and gown


Desiree Williams is the Rio Salado College 2019 Student Commencement Speaker. 

The formula Desiree Williams used to reach her goal of graduation is simple: hard work, dedication, a ridiculous amount of coffee, and her 3-year-old son. 

“Although I don’t wear a cape or have Incredible Hulk strength, my son has always viewed me as a superhero and I couldn’t let him down,” Williams said. “Growing up, I was a really good kid. After high school, I had a major set-back. I made some really poor choices and had to live with the consequences.” 

Williams chose Rio Salado College to get her life back on track. 

Photo of Desiree Williams

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunities and flexibility that Rio Salado offered,” Williams said. “Being able to stay home with my son, work and attend school seemed absurd, but Rio made it possible.”

Williams had some motivational help to get her through the rigors of school.

“My fiancĂ© was there any time I was overwhelmed or felt like giving up,” she said. “And my son often pretends like he’s going to school by typing on the computer to take an imaginary test.”

Williams hopes this experience will leave a lasting impression on her son.

“I want him to view education as important and put great effort into whatever he chooses to study in the years to come,” she said. “I also want him to know he was my biggest motivation and never my excuse.”

Williams has earned three associate degrees at Rio. She plans on transferring her credits to a bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory science, and to ultimately work in the fields of microbiology and biochemistry.

"Someday I will trade in my metaphoric mom cape for a lab coat,” Williams said. “I will still be a hero in my son’s eyes, but hope to also be a hero to my patients and their families and friends.”

The Commencement ceremony takes place Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix. Learn more.

Contributed by Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator.