Peggy Lockhart

Peggy excels as a non-traditional student

Being a young mother and a high school drop-out, Peggy never thought she would go back to school. Being a single parent inspired her to continue her education. Peggy earned her general equivalency diploma from Illinois which started her journey into higher education. 

“If you want to be independent, especially as a woman, you need an education,” Peggy said. “I treat my education like a job. What I do in school, is what I would do for a job.”

Her interest in gerontology started when she was a student in high school working in a nursing home. She always thought older generations were interesting, plus she took what she learned to help take care of her father.

Now, Peggy is in her second year working toward her Ph.D. in human sciences and family studies. She’s a non-traditional student one year away from hitting 60 years old, but she won’t let that hinder her education. Through her studies, she learned people are living longer, healthy, more active lives and feels pursuing her degree keeps her engaged.

“There are those my age who wonder why I would want to start a new career at a time when most are planning their retirement,” she said. “I’m nowhere near ready to retire. I have a lot left to do!”

Peggy really enjoys how small her graduate classes are and how it allows her instructors to give plenty of feedback. She said Iowa State never made her feel like she was doing something outside of her age. She also likes how the younger students look up to her.

“I don’t see myself as different, and they don’t treat me any differently,” Peggy said. “They come to me with personal issues. I’m kind of like a den mother, and I’m good with that.”