Known as the “Amazing Ayisha” by her patients, Ayisha Muhammad is dedicated to caring for elderly and disabled clients as a certified nurse aide through her business, iCare4u, LLC.
She hopes to one day open a multicultural care center, a different type of place that emphasizes the cultural and religious needs of the clients living and receiving services in her care. “My vision is for a facility with people who respect and understand everyone. A place that offers different food options and provides spiritual care for those with varying beliefs,” Ayisha said.
The 34-year-old mom of two decided to pursue a business degree at Tidewater Community College to expand her knowledge and gain the skills she needs to grow her business.
Ayisha chose the college’s Accelerated Degree Program (ADP) to get her degree even faster. She started in Feb. 2021 and will cross the stage at TCC’s 73rd Commencement Exercises less than a year later on Dec. 20, 2021.
The ADP satisfies general education requirements at most Virginia public colleges and universities. Students who complete the degree will likely be admitted as juniors at their transfer school. Participating students also receive personalized attention and dedicated advising, including monthly check-ins.
“The ADP was an intense program, but it allowed me to be super focused on my studies,” Ayisha said. “And doing everything online meant I could work around my family’s schedule and didn’t need a sitter.”
Ayisha gave birth to her now 8-month-old daughter, Aliza, during the program and recalls being in a Zoom class while in labor.
When Ayisha started her degree, she had to improve her grades before she could apply for financial aid. She did just that and received educational funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Another bonus was a free laptop to ensure she could complete her work on time at home.
Ayisha encourages others considering college to come back now because of the resources available and the careers you can prepare for in two years or less. “I absolutely recommend TCC to everyone,” she said. “My advisor Crystal Stafford was amazing, and she kept me on track and made sure I was passing every class.”
Ayisha is especially proud to set an example for her teenage daughter, Alani. “She understands the sacrifices I’ve made, the work I’ve done and that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.”