This semester marks a unique milestone for the Woods family: their fifth and youngest member, Benjamin, starts his first year at UNC Greensboro as a computer science major.
He follows in the footsteps of his four older siblings: Tabitha ‘17, Philip ‘18, Sarah, a consumer apparel and retail studies major, and Joy, a political science and international business major. Though their interests and career paths vary widely, the siblings share a rare bond that transcends their shared identity as Spartans.
“We’re all incredibly close to one another,” said Joy. “Growing up as one of five and also being home-schooled, we saw an awful lot of each other. I wouldn’t give up my relationship with my siblings for anything. ”
Now, they say, UNCG feels like an extension of their close-knit family. They grew up near campus, attending classes at UNCG as children. Joy fondly remembers selling Girl Scout cookies in the EUC.
“UNCG mirrors our family in way,” said the oldest, Tabitha. “The professors have been so supportive. Some have watched us grow up and seen a few us of graduate. They still keep in touch.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by the rest of the family.
“One of my favorite parts about UNCG is the family-like feel,” said Sarah. “Some of my favorite times from the past three years were being the sewing studio with my classmates, all of us helping each other. It’s such a warm environment.”
Philip, who graduated in 2018, agrees.
“I met a lot of professors in media studies that I am still friends with to this day, and they continue to encourage me to grow as a filmmaker.”
Together, the family has thrived at UNCG. Joy is a McNair Scholar, a program that prepares students for doctoral study, particularly those who are either first-generation college students or a member of a group that is underrepresented. She spent the summer conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Gregory McAvoy, political science department head.
Sarah is a Bryan School Blue and Gold Scholar and very active in UNCG’s Threads fashion club, serving on the officer board for the past year and a half. Tabitha works as a science teacher for Jamestown Middle School while pursuing her master’s degree in UNCG’s School of Education.
The fall 2020 semester started on August 18, 2020, and with it, the youngest Woods member joined this extended Spartan family. He’s excited, he says, to meet different types of people and learn how he can shape technology using computer science.
With four siblings close by and a lifetime spent near campus, it’s both a new beginning and a homecoming.
Story and photography by Elizabeth Keri, College of Arts & Sciences