Alumni Profile – Fatimah “Betty” Southall

Some people complete their college degree on their first try, straight out of high school – but for Betty Southall, this was not the case. After two failed attempts in higher education, she finally found her best fit at Chatfield College. Overcoming many obstacles along the way, Betty is a success after completing her Associates degree at Chatfield in just less than four years.

Betty first heard about Chatfield through her mother who had been a part of the non-profit organization ACT. Chatfield had previously been in collaboration with this program, offering classes at its Cincinnati location. Since her mother had worked there, she was able to learn more about Chatfield while growing up.

When Betty graduated from high school, she made her first attempt at college. At the age of 17, she began her education at University of Cincinnati, but had to drop out after the heartbreaking death of her father. She then attempted college again at Cincinnati State, but once again, it did not go as planned. She decided to give college a try one more time and enrolled at Chatfield College, where she was determined to finish school this time around.  Her first semester at Chatfield was also delayed, when she experienced issues with her financial aid application, after filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”). She now believes that taking that semester off was a blessing because she ultimately needed thyroid surgery shortly after her classes would have begun. So in 2013, she enrolled at Chatfield once again, and this time it was for the long-haul.

During her time at Chatfield, Betty took on any opportunity that was available that would help her pay her tuition and fees. She started out working in the financial aid office, eventually leading to a fellowship within that department. She was also involved in a work study program where she cleaned bathrooms at the Chatfield Over-the-Rhine campus. Although it was a tough job, she now refers to the experience as a character building exercise for which she is grateful.

It took Betty a little longer than most to get through her degree requirements at Chatfield. During one school year, she struggled to complete her schoolwork after the passing of her grandmother. Heartbroken and unable to focus, she did not pass a couple of the required classes that semester. But she was relentless, and determined to continue her education. Betty eventually earned her degree in 2017.

Just prior to her last semester at Chatfield, Betty inquired at Senator Sherrod Brown’s Cincinnati office about volunteering. She was soon contacted about an available internship and shortly after had landed the job. After a few months at her internship, she found out about an open position in Senator Brown’s office as a staff assistant. With her previous experience working in a political government office under Councilman Wendell Young and her recent internship with Senator Brown, she had a leg up on other applicants and got the job. At her new position, Betty oversees approximately thirty people per year and is also the intern coordinator, after only nine months on the job!

“Build a strong relationship with God and listen to what God wants to use you for. You will eventually end up in a great position if you follow His path. I have had the best luck in order to get where I am today, and everyone else can have that too if they have faith,” said Betty.

After multiple attempts at college, Betty was finally able to finish school at Chatfield and for that, she is forever grateful. She mentioned that if it were not for the compassionate faculty and the financial opportunities that Chatfield had provided her, she might not have ever finished college.

Betty wants to eventually earn her Bachelor’s degree in economics from Cincinnati Christian University and continue her career in politics.  We will most certainly be hearing again from Betty Southall.

Alumni Profile – Martin Smith

Of the many college graduates living in Brown County, there are very few who have attended an Ivy League school. Chatfield College graduate Martin Smith however, is one of those few.

At the age of 19, Martin first enrolled at Chatfield College. With his first child on the way, he was only able to finish one year before he made the decision to drop out and focus more on being a father. As he was taking on the new role of being a father and having a full-time job, there was not enough time to fit college responsibilities into his busy schedule.

At 30 years old, Martin was divorced, had two children, and had worked several jobs along the way to support his family. Despite his last attempt, he decided to enroll at Chatfield for a second time – and this time he wanted to make it count. He began taking classes during the summer, some of which included enrichment courses and tennis lessons. He was a member of Chatfield’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges, and became an alumni fellow in the development department, and was a part of the student leadership club.

“I decided to come back, I fell in love with Chatfield and the rest is history,” Martin said.

With his rigorous studies, Martin was able to finish his Associate’s degree from Chatfield in 2015.  Deciding to further his education, he wanted to aim high in the choice of his next school. A close friend and classmate, Jade, was applying to Columbia University in New York City, so he decided to apply there as well. In total, he applied to 58 different schools and was accepted into 41 of them. He was accepted into three different Ivy League Schools – the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Brown.

Although Columbia had been his dream, he decided to attend Penn, where he received a better financial aid package. Martin paved his way to success and graduated with his Master’s degree in English Literature in 2017. He credits Chatfield in helping him succeed in an Ivy League setting. Because Chatfield had small classes, he was able to get the attention that he needed in order to thrive academically.

He is currently working on getting his second Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston. He ultimately wants to earn his PhD somewhere along the line to continue his academic career. Since he has left Chatfield, Martin has been successful in other ways as well. His children Nicholas and Leah are now attending school at Western Brown, where he believes they are full of potential. He has published a total of eight books – five local history books, two children’s books, and a novel. Martin is currently pursuing the idea of a book that involves the history of Chatfield College in Brown County.

He recently visited the St. Martin campus as a pit-stop along the way during his current book tour. This was a great opportunity to catch up with past professors, advisors, and other people he met along the way during his time at Chatfield. He began reflecting on his time spent at this campus and how much Chatfield meant to him. Being able to come back to the place that shaped him as a student has made him become even more appreciative of the beauty of Chatfield.

“Don’t sell yourself short. Do what you believe is right for you, because you are capable of doing anything you want. Chatfield can provide you with a great opportunity to succeed – just like it did for me.”

Brown County Bicentennial Chautauqua Honors Julia Chatfield

Named for Chautauqua, New York, where the first one was ever held, the Chautauqua movement was a popular adult education movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920’s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and learning to the entire community; they featured speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists.

The Brown County Chautauqua’s were held at the Brown County Fairgrounds in the old wooden grandstand. Now we will relive the Chautauqua experience once more at the Brown County fairgrounds, in honor of our county’s two-hundredth anniversary!

In 1845, a group of Ursuline Sisters dedicated to education came to Ohio from France. Their leader, Sister Julia Chatfield, founded the Ursuline convent in St. Martin, Ohio and the community immediately began construction of a four-story brick school building in the Brown County wilderness. From that foundation, the educational mission of the Ursulines of Brown County has reached children and adults through the public school system, a boarding school, a summer camp, counseling, high school, and college.

Support Chatfield College by coming out on Thursday, June 21 at 8:30 PM where Julia Chatfield will describe the history of the Ursulines of Brown County and their long tradition of offering a quality education at St. Martin!

Event Details:
June 21-23 (Thursday-Saturday) 2018
Program Begins 7:00 PM
National Anthem by Rep. Doug Green

June 21
7:30 PM Music by Deann Kelley Kropf
8:30  PM “Mother Superior Julia Chatfield” by Margaret Clark

June 22
7:30 PM Music by Harriet Jackson Groh & Sandy Eversole
8:30 PM “John Parker” by Anthony Gibbs

June 23
7:30 PM Music by the “Civil War Revue Band”
8:30 PM “U.S. Grant” by Dr. Curt Fields

The Importance of a Summer Internship

As a college student, it can be difficult to manage school, friends, and work. It is easy to forget how important it is to gain experience in your desired career, so most tend to overlook available opportunities to help them gain real-world experience in the work environment. It can be difficult to find a job after graduating from college, so employers want to see that you took the time to gain as much experience as possible before graduation. Internships are great opportunities to learn more about your desired career path, and can help you adapt to a work environment that may be unfamiliar to you. Although finding an internship can be difficult, most employers like to see that you have experience working for a credited company and can help you get the leg up on other competition.

I am currently attending the University of Dayton and I will be entering my senior year this fall, where I will graduate with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design with a minor in photography. My teachers have always encouraged their students to seek out internships either before our junior or senior years so that we have some experience in our field before we graduate.

I have a lot of work experience compared to most of my classmates. Previously, I worked for Bath and Body Works and Taco Bell, and I am currently working at Marshall’s part-time. In addition to that, I do a lot of freelance work for friends and family—working on invitation designs and selling some of my designs on Redbubble. I also worked alongside Jay + Bee Photography, where I worked as their second shooter for wedding photography, as well as maintaining my own photography business on the side. Although I have a lot of work experience, I know that would not be enough to impress interviewers when I start to apply for jobs in the graphic design field. Most employers want two to three years of experience in your field before you even graduate, and I had only worked mostly retail jobs and was selling my designs to family friends. I knew that I had to step up and find better opportunities that could benefit my future career in the long-run.

During the end of my sophomore year, I began to apply for graphic design jobs on campus but had no luck. I decided to wait until the next summer to find an internship, and spend time building my portfolio. Looking back, I wish I had sought out an internship sooner because it would help me grow as a designer, writer, student, and worker. During my junior year, I decided to get more involved with school and look for graphic design opportunities on campus. I landed a job as the graphic designer for ArtStreet Café on campus, which is a subdivision of Flyer Enterprises—the third largest student-run business in the country. I was also inducted into Kappa Pi, an honorary art fraternity, where I was elected as the Recruitment Chair, and became very involved with our philanthropy. I was even featured as the Artist of the Month in the newspaper on campus, as well as getting a photograph published in the art and literary magazine on campus. All of these different activities helped me grow as an individual, and helped me add many lines to my resume.

Becoming more involved in activities and jobs on and off campus, it had pushed me to become better and strive for success. In searching for internships over the summer, it was difficult to find somewhere local that related to my future career. During this search, a friend of mine mentioned that she was looking for a marketing and social media intern to take over for her while she was on maternity leave at Chatfield College. Although it was not exactly what I was looking for, I figured that I could get a lot of experience from it, considering graphic design is in very close ties with marketing. I decided to apply for the internship and see where it led me.

After applying for the internship, I was called for an interview. While I did not have a lot of marketing experience, I had a lot of sales experience alongside my designing skills, and they saw a lot of potential in me. I went on to have a second interview with John Tafaro, the President of Chatfield. Although there were a lot of other applicants, I landed the job! My fellow classmates had internships with varying titles and job descriptions, proving that any internship can be great experiences, even if it is not particular to your degree.

In the short few weeks that I have been training at Chatfield, I have already learned so much. I have developed better communication skills, learned how to maintain a website, designed countless different flyers and advertisements, and have made a lot of connections along the way. Although this internship is not exactly what I was looking for in the beginning, I think that it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It has definitely pushed me beyond my comfort zone, allowing me to develop skills that I never knew I even needed. Having experience in marketing will make me more qualified for job opportunities in the future and give me an advantage among other competition.

Having an internship is an important step in a successful career path. Having experience in a real environment helps in gaining more knowledge than you could ever learn in a classroom. Even if your grades are not the best, having experience in your desired field is far more valuable. You are able to show that you are dedicated, because you spent an entire summer working, while most are off with their friends. If you want to gain more real-world experience, develop your communication skills, and gain connections, I highly suggest looking into finding an internship for the summer or during the school year. You can never have enough experience, even if it is different than your intended career path, and you might just end up falling in love with a different career than what you thought.

– Taylor Wilson

Chatfield College Holds its 47th Commencement Ceremony

Chatfield College held its 47th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. at St. Veronica Church in Cincinnati. Fifty-two graduates were honored at the ceremony, which included students from both the St. Martin and Over-the-Rhine campuses.

Kathy Wade, CEO of Learning Through Art, Inc. and Emmy Award nominated vocalist gave the commencement address.

Receiving Associate Degrees were Annie M. Allen, Ashley Elizabeth Barlow, Sadie Raquel Benfield, Kevin H. Brown, Shannon Cameron-Kanu, Kapri Dawn Campbell, Mary Jane Castle, Bryant James-Weiss Constable, Christina L. Dericks, Aundaya Onawa Dixon, Rachel M. Hammonds, Brian K. Hampton, Courtney S. M. Harris, Heidi Marian Imwalle, Lilian J. Imwalle, Jaushaun T. Jackson, Felecia Renee James, Natasha Mariah Justice, Katherine Sommer Kelly, Bradlee K. King, Ryane Tiera King, Jocelyn M. Kuha, Quinton C. Lewis, Christopher D. Lindsley, Blake A. Macleod, Julian Montana Matthews, Andrew J. McGraw, She’a Monique McKinney, Taylor Shay McLaughlin, Griffin T. McNeal, Alexandria C. Miller, Hailey Blair Miller, Jacqui Rene’ Mooney, Trent C. Moore III, Caitlin Michelle Mullins, Bailey Marie Myers,Amanda P. Neal, Olivia Ann Neff, Kamri-Beth Paige Offutt, Lynda A. Rainey, Hannah N. Slack, Fatimah Betty Jean Southhall, Brittney J. Stevenson, Anika Thomas-Anderson, Margo Jayne Thompson, Sister Marcelina Theophila Watua , Nake’la Kiera Kevon Williams, Stephanie J. Williams, Sydnie S. Wolf, Janie B. Worhsam, Branson S. Young, and Holly Lynn Young

Two graduates were awarded the Julia Chatfield Distinguished Student Award—Trent C. Moore III from the St. Martin Campus and Nake’la Kiera Kevon Williams from the Over-the-Rhine campus. This award is designed to recognize a graduate at each campus based on nominations submitted by the faculty and staff. Besides a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, the student must exhibit the determination of Julia Chatfield by turning obstacles into opportunities, is friendly, inclusive and supportive in dealing with others and displays leadership qualities.

Karen Crumley was presented with Chatfield’s Dean Agatha Fitzgerald, OSU Excellence in Teaching Award. This award is given each year to an instructor who exemplifies the academic spirit and values of Chatfield College. Karen has been teaching as an adjunct instructor since 2012, however, her first experience at Chatfield was as a student, ten years prior to joining the faculty. Her considerable knowledge and experience led her to earn the position as Chair of the Education Department, the College Credit Plus Advisor, and Chair of the Faculty Senate.

Click here to view the complete video of the ceremony

Click here to view the graduation photo gallery


The Importance of a Mentor

Having a mentor in both high school and college has been an absolutely great experience. I have learned so much from being a mentee.  I have learned to become comfortable talking to people, to look at things from a different perspective, and why helping others is important.

I started out as a mentee by accident in high school. My teacher had set up a separate meeting for another girl and a mentor, but unfortunately, the student didn’t make it. I wasn’t prepared to meet with anyone that day, but when my teacher asked me if I would be interested in having a mentor, I said yes. I never had a mentor before and I wanted to see what it was like.

The first meeting I was completely unprepared and underdressed. I wanted to make a great first impression, but I had no idea what to expect or what to talk about. The meeting went a lot better than what I expected—we talked a lot about my past and what I wanted for the future. When talking to my first mentor, I felt a sense of ease that I could be completely honest and not have to worry about being judged. I felt like I didn’t have to hide in a shell. He encouraged me to go to college and to pursue a good career of my choosing (I’m very indecisive and mentioned a few things I’d like to pursue).

I took the advice of my mentor and enrolled in Chatfield College after graduating from high school. I have been attending for a year now and decided to join the mentoring program on campus. My current mentor has already done so much to help me. Her companionship has helped me so much, and I know she is always around if I have any questions or need any advice. She has pushed to do what is best for me because most of the time, I try to take on too much and I become overwhelmed. She has told me sometimes it’s better to take a step back to look at everything to see what is more important to focus on.

Since I’ve been a mentee, I have learned to look at every situation to make sure I get the best outcome. Being a mentee has definitely changed my life for the better, and I can’t thank my mentors enough. Mentors are such amazing people and they showed me why helping others gives life meaning and hope. I would recommend a mentor to absolutely anyone and everyone. Chatfield’s mentoring program is very accessible and works around each individual’s schedule. If you are struggling in a class or just need someone to talk to, I would suggest signing up for a mentor. Not only can a mentor help guide you academically, they can also be a great place to go for advice or encouragement in any of life’s troubles.  To become a mentee or to learn more, visit

-Courtney Sedgwick, St. Martin student

Chatfield College to Host Community Meetings to Share New Strategic Plan

Chatfield College will be hosting a series of meetings and presentations at both campuses in order to share its new strategic plan with students, faculty, staff and its neighboring communities. These events will give the community a chance to weigh in on the plan, which will encompass the college’s mission and vision statements, core values, and step-by-step, three-year, strategic plan.

“Periodic but regular strategic planning is the sign of a vibrant and healthy academic institution” explained Chatfield’s Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Peter Hanson.  “Many teams and individuals have been working on this plan for more than a year, but we need our neighbors and all our constituents to participate in the process in order to create a collaborative document that meets the needs of all the people Chatfield serves.”

Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the morning sessions, while cookies and punch will be plentiful in the afternoon. The first “Community Coffee” will be held at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on Thursday, March 15th at 8:30am. That same afternoon, “Community Cookies” will begin at 3:30pm. The Brown County campus will host both a “Community Coffee” morning session at 8:30am and an afternoon “Community Cookie” session at 3:30pm on Monday, March 19th in the Welcome Center.  Chatfield’s historic Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251 in St. Martin/Fayetteville.

Your RSVP is not required, but would be much appreciated.  To RSVP, or for more information, contact Cheryl Kern at 513-875-3344 ext. 130 or

Chatfield College is a private, faith-based, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in Brown County and Cincinnati, and is an open enrollment college. The Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118; the Cincinnati campus is located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call (513) 875-3344 or e-mail



Chatfield College Welcomes Community to Weigh-In on Strategic Plan

Chatfield College is working hard on its next three-year strategic plan, and we welcome your input!

As our sensational new Academic Dean, Dr. Peter Hanson told me, “Periodic but regular strategic planning is the sign of a vibrant and healthy academic institution.”   One of Chatfield’s many strengths is the close relationships we maintain with our friends and neighbors, and all of the faculty, students, staff, vendors, and contractors we work with, who make up the Chatfield community.

Under the direction of our Board Planning Committee, comprised of the chairs of all seven of the standing committees made up of Chatfield trustees, we have been taking a close look at our vision for the future, our mission statement, and the core values we hold so dear to our institution, all emanating from our long and valued history as an Ursuline College.  St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines (all the way back in the 16th century) told us to “change with the times”, and Chatfield is committed to being nimble and responsive to the needs of our students during these rapidly changing times in higher education and in the workforce.  This is why a current and well-thought-out strategic plan is essential.

Please come and share your thoughts with us!  We have planned four sessions – two on each campus – and to accommodate as many people as possible, both morning and afternoon meetings are scheduled.  Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the morning sessions, while cookies and punch will be plentiful in the afternoon. Our first “Community Coffee” will be held at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on Thursday, March 15th at 8:30am. That same afternoon, “Community Cookies” will begin at 3:30pm. The Brown County campus will host both a “Community Coffee” morning session at 8:30am and an afternoon “Community Cookie” session at 3:30pm on Monday, March 19th in the Welcome Center.  Chatfield’s historic Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251 in St. Martin/Fayetteville.

So no matter how you feel a connection to Chatfield College, whether or not you have ever taken a class, or know someone who has, are a neighbor, or are even a graduate yourself, or if you just want to learn more about us, you are invited to participate and share your views. Your RSVP is not required, but would be much appreciated (so our cookie chefs can be fully ready for you.)

To RSVP, or for more information, contact Cheryl Kern at 513-875-3344 ext. 130 or email

I look forward to seeing you at Chatfield!

John P. Tafaro became Chatfield’s fifth president in 2009.  Email him at                         

Scholarship Opportunity for Brown County High School Seniors Tied to U.S. Constitution

Chatfield College is offering a U.S. Constitution Scholarship to a Brown County high school senior. In order to apply, students must submit an essay describing, “What the U.S. Constitution Means to Me”  The $4,000 scholarship will be awarded to one Brown County high school senior who enrolls at Chatfield College, with $1,000 available per semester for four semesters.

The idea for this scholarship came from Brown County resident of almost 50 years, Bill Herdman.  Mr. Herdman is also one of the oldest surviving World War II veterans living in Brown County and is active in local veterans activities and other civic organizations.

“I think it is very important for our students to have an understanding of such an important piece of United States history,” Herdman shared. “We do live in the greatest country in the world, and students should appreciate the rights they enjoy as American citizens, all emanating from this glorious document – our Constitution.”

Mr. Herdman will be one of five judges for this program.  In addition, the others are superintendent of Brown County Educational Service Center Jim Frazier, former U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Chatfield Trustee Robert Knueven, and Chatfield’s president, John P. Tafaro.

Three-term congresswoman and instructor of Chatfield’s political science course, Constitutional Development, Jean Schmidt shared her enthusiasm for the project:

“I am very excited to read the essays of our seniors, and to see what the constitution means to them on a personal level. This is a great opportunity for someone to share their knowledge of the Bill of Rights, for example, and earn a scholarship.”

The deadline for the applications is Thursday, March 15th. Interested students can apply online at or get a scholarship application from their high school guidance counselor.

Chatfield College is a private, faith-based, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in Brown County and Cincinnati, and is an open enrollment college. The Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118; the Cincinnati campus is located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call (513) 875-3344 or e-mail




Inclement Weather Policy

As an institution of higher education, Chatfield College must always weigh carefully any decision related to the cancelling of classes due to weather events. We encourage personal safety as the primary focus, and that is necessarily a personal consideration that will differ from person to person, across the variety of weather patterns from which we all arrive to Chatfield.

When any classes are cancelled due to widespread inclement weather, regional radio and television stations will be notified. Notification of cancellations will be also be made by One Call Now and by email.

The decision to cancel classes is not based upon the actions of public schools or other organizations, but is based on the judgment of Chatfield College administrators who assess weather reports, road conditions and other variables. Our collective goal is to provide a quality collegiate education regardless of circumstances.

Students will remain responsible for the work required to maintain academic progress in the event of a cancellation, and faculty will enable that work to take place in a supportive manner, without academic penalty.