Skip To Content
Spelman College Faculty Stories

Faculty Stories

From Switchboard Operator to PED Scholar: Wanda Anderson, C’2023, Answers Spelman’s Call

June 2023


Wanda Anderson Wanda Anderson’s journey to attain a degree from Spelman College unknowingly began in 2005. That year, she began working at the College – a choice she made after her career as a bank teller ended with the closing of the bank. Forced to seek employment as a single parent, Anderson was referred to Spelman.  

“I began working at Spelman in the Facilities Management and Services department as a temporary housekeeper. From there, I became a full-time housekeeper working in the Manley dorms,” she recalled. “That was a very difficult time for me. However, I realized that God had other plans when a position opened for a switchboard operator.”  

Nineteen years later, Anderson still serves the College and has a new title – telecommunications operator. 

Anderson’s college experience initially began as a student at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, CA. Her decision to withdraw stemmed from a desire to focus on raising her children and working – a tough balancing act. 

Years later, while working at Spelman, she was inspired to resume her academic journey as a Pauline E. Drake (PED) Scholar, a delightful moment for her children and grandchildren who witnessed her graduate during the Class of 2023! 

“My experience has been at times challenging. I would say next to raising my children, returning to school to finish my degree has been the hardest thing that I have done,” she said. “Oftentimes, the first days of classes would be a little stressful because the students naturally assumed that I was the professor. After getting past that, they treated me like any other student.” 

An important piece of the journey to completing her studies was sisterhood. According to Anderson, other PED Scholars pushed her to stay on track and keep going forward, even when her schedule was tough. She squeezed in classes and study sessions during her lunch break and in the evenings at the end of a long workday. 

“Many days, I just wanted to go home after work, but I stayed in my office to do my homework – returning home late at night. It was a sacrifice! I am grateful for my supervisors Jackie James and Ron Borgelin, who always worked with me and my schedule.” 

The support Anderson received from family, classmates and supervisors aided her on the way to commencement – an experience she describes as “surreal.”  

“Walking across that stage with my little [Spelman] sisters and hearing my name called, knowing that my children and grandchildren were watching, was an amazing and indescribable feeling! I waited many years for this moment,” she said. “I wanted my children and grandchildren to see and know that you can do anything that you desire to do with perseverance, commitment, and faith in God, and that regardless of age, color, or circumstances, anything is possible.”