New Maverick mom finished homework while in labor

Maverick mom Kelly Meek graduates with master’s degree, celebrates first Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 09, 2024 • Cristal Gonzalez : contact

Kelly Meek in hospital bed with laptop open

The journey toward baby Sarala’s arrival in September 2023 was arduous for Kelly Meek and her husband: nearly four years of fertility treatments, ultrasounds and injections to combat Meek’s diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome.

So when Sarala decided to arrive a little ahead of schedule, Meek, who was set to complete her first term in the eight-week accelerated master’s program in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Arlington, wasn’t about to let a little homework stand in her way. Her hospital “go bag” included diapers, clothes for the newborn and a laptop—so Meek could complete class assignments from the delivery room.

Kelly Meek with her daughter, Sarala

Now Meek is scheduled to graduate on May 10—and celebrate her first Mother’s Day as a new mom two days later.

Although entitled to excused absences and the opportunity to turn in work early or late under Title IX, Meek said she was determined to finish on time and ace her coursework.

“It was a good distraction, and I could have kept working. But when the nurses and doctors broke my water, I was in a lot of pain,” she said. “We’re always so busy, so we got used to juggling a million things. Sarala has bopped along the entire time.”

According to her husband, Chris, nothing slows down Meek, who was pursuing her master’s degree while also teaching middle school math in League City, Texas. In addition, Meek is active in her church band and even went on a 10-day trip to Alaska as a missionary, installing sheetrock and insulation for a community building—while eight months pregnant.

“She just does not give up. It’s part of what makes her an amazing partner, mother, teacher and friend,” Chris said. “I hope someone will read her story and find that it resonates with them, maybe to get started or to keep going when they think of giving up.”

- Written by Monique Bird, College of Education