by Mary Doyle, Fort Meade Public Affairs Office
Celene and Kianna Flowers
Proud of our graduate
The end of a long road and the beginning of another
The Latin phrase summa cum laude means “with the highest honor.” According to EducationData.org, of the approximately four million students who graduate each year with a bachelor’s degree, only between one and five percent of those students will earn the summa cum laude designation.
When the summa cum laude graduate is a co-worker, it’s expected that some members of the team might feel proud of the accomplishment, but that pride can never be compared to that of a mother.
“My initial reaction was just, wow!” said Celena Flowers, a Supervisory Social Worker with the Family Advocacy Program at Fort Meade. “She is so humble and you know, when they’re in college, it’s not like you’re checking their report cards. She was getting A’s in every single class. Every single one. It’s just a great accomplishment.”
Kianna Flowers, a flexible scheduled Child and Youth program assistant, with Child and Youth Services, graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County on May 21, with a Bachelor’s degree in health administration and policy.
“I feel like being a part of the military community really allowed me to learn how to more easily adapt to new environments and situations, given the number of times I had to move around when I was younger before settling down in Fort Meade,” said Kianna Flowers. “I believe that the military community contributed to my ability to gain my degree in a huge way.”
At nine-years-old, Kianna attended programs with Fort Meade’s School Age Services and continued to do so from grades 5-9. It was when she was 18 years-old and serving as a volunteer with the Family Advocacy Program, when her mother, Celena, learned that she could get paid for her work.
“I was talking to Fran Jamison, [the director of Child, Youth and School Services at Fort Meade} and told him that my daughter was looking for work,” said Celena. “He told me that he started working at Fort Meade when he was just 18, and now he’s a director. So my daughter applied.” Celena has worked for Fort Meade for 13 years.
Kianna’s co-workers aren’t surprised that she has been recognized for her hard work and academic success.
“She has worked very hard, and it is great to see her honored for her achievement,” said Kenya Amaker, Assistant Director of School Age Service Center one. “She is known for being reliable, dependable and trustworthy.”
But Kianna’s connections to the installation don’t stop with work. When she decided to pursue her degree in health administration, she had to figure out a way to pay for it.
Kianna received an academic scholarship through UMBC. Additional scholarship support came from various Fort Meade groups including the Officer’s Spouses Club, the Enlisted Spouses Club (now Fort Meade Spouse Club), the Defense Commissary Scholarship fund and others. While they didn’t cover all of her tuition costs, Kianna’s awards amounted to thousands of dollars in support from the community.
“These scholarships serve as an example that the military community encourages higher education and supports their military families,” said Kianna. “The support and resources given to me throughout my undergraduate degree also allowed me to focus more on my studies and less on worrying about financing my education.
Alexa Greathouse, outreach treasurer for the Fort Meade Spouses Club says, the FMSC scholarships and other activities are funded by the Fort Meade Post Thrift Shop, a place where many scholarship awardees have volunteered as reciprocal contributions to the community.
“We applaud Kianna for all of her hard work in achieving that prestigious honor. This organization's extensive outreach initiatives give back to the community, none more so than their military dependent scholarships, which average $50,000 in annual awards. Kianna first applied for a Scholarship during the 2017-2018 Club Year and we have been happy to see her apply and win subsequent years. We wish Kianna congratulations on her graduation and know she will do big things in life.”
Kianna says, the scholarships and the part-time job were a big part of her ability to earn the degree.
“I look forward to continuing to serve the military community as my way of “giving back”, said Kianna.
Kianna has applied and been accepted into a bridge program to further her education goals at the University of Maryland. UMBC has awarding her an academic scholarship to fund a portion of the program which will advance her academics from her health care degree into a master’s degree in nursing.