MANSFIELD – The phrase “her smile lights up the room” doesn’t quite do Becca Lamp justice. The 25-year old from Ontario is the kind of woman whose vibrancy and positivity shines a bright light on even the darkest of places.
Yet even she had doubts back in 2016 when the then-college sophomore found herself pregnant and unsure whether she could finish her college degree.
“When I gave birth, I was actually in the middle of a semester,” Lamp said. “I remember balancing my laptop on my pregnant stomach in the hospital, and I was emailing professors asking for extensions. There were times I didn’t know if I would make it.
"The people at The Ohio State University at Mansfield have been so great and so helpful every time I have needed them.”
Lamp completed her bachelor of science in social work in 2018 and graduated this year with her master of social work degree. The single mother and her 3-year-old daughter now have a life full of possibilities, and Lamp believes there are many faculty and staff members at Ohio State Mansfield to thank for that.
“After I graduated in 2011, I went out of state for college. It got too expensive, so I came home. I started back to school at Ohio State Mansfield and took one semester of classes before I had the opportunity to volunteer at a school in Paraguay to teach children English. I stayed there for two years,” Lamp said. “When I started back to school, I was pregnant and then became a single mother. It was difficult.
"I wanted to give my daughter a chance at success. I wanted to be able to get a good job, and I didn’t want to depend on anybody but myself. I had to finish my degree.”
Lamp worked her way through school, lived with her parents and used the child-care services on campus to help with care for her young daughter.
“I couldn’t have moved to Columbus. I wouldn’t have been able to do this. If it wasn’t for Ohio State Mansfield, I wouldn’t have been able to get my degree,” Lamp said. “The women at the Child Development Center on the Mansfield campus were so amazing with my daughter. They were like second moms to her, and she would talk about them at home. She loved the other kids there.”
The Child Development Center opened in 1994 with the dual purpose of serving the child care needs of Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College students while also serving as a teaching lab for college students preparing for careers with young children and their families.
It enrolls children from six weeks of age through kindergarten.
“In addition to taking great care of my daughter, the women at the center were also a support to me,” Lamp said. “They asked me how I was doing and how school was going. I knew they had my back and supported me and my daughter.”
While completing her undergraduate degree, Lamp did an internship at Richland County Children’s Services. The experience solidified her desire to work with children who are in foster care or going through adoption.
“I plan to find a job where I can help children in the foster care and adoption system. I’ve always wanted to work with and help children, and now I’ll have that opportunity,” Lamp said. “I even plan to get my foster parent license myself to take in children.”