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Hampton Overcomes Challenges to Climb Ladder of IT Success

"Figure out your goals, figure out what you want to do – have patience, follow your heart and go for it."

Mea Hampton once depended on a combination of Section 8 housing, part-time jobs and self-employment to support herself and her two children. 

She’s been unemployed and, when times were especially trying, homeless.

Not anymore.

Today Mea Hampton, MIS, PMP, is senior manager of campus technology support services at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. 

mea hampton works at her four-monitor computer set up

She tells anyone who will listen that they don’t have to be afraid of technology, and that they are smart enough to work in the growing field too. 

Hampton’s climb up the ladder of success began when she found herself wanting more security.

Although she was initially terrified of information technology, she enrolled in the College’s business technology training program offered through Workforce Solutions Group. (The customer information support specialist program is the new version of the BTT program.) 

The program provided unemployed and low-income people with the business and technical skills needed to market themselves in the IT field. 

Hampton graduated at the top of her class, landed a job at STLCC-Florissant Valley, became a manager in the IT department and has even taught information system classes for the College as an adjunct professor. 

She is respected as a manager, decision-maker, leader, and liaison of information who has earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in information systems. Her efforts have been recognized with several certificates and awards. 

“Mea is a crucial member of our campus leadership team,” said Elizabeth Gassel Perkins, Ed.D., campus president and chief academic officer at STLCC-Florissant Valley.

“She provides not only her expertise but also her innovative ideas to our discussions, which allows us to think outside of the box in how we serve students. This kind of support is key for providing the global, 21st-century education that is crucial for our students’ success.” 

"This kind of support is key for providing the global, 21st-century education that is crucial for our students’ success.” 

Hampton said rising above her circumstances took some work, and she had to fight discouragement along the way. 

Tired of trying, one day she decided to drop everything. Her dad, who had just called to check on her, somehow sensed something was wrong. He then shared a personal story.

She learned that he was a star baseball and football player at Sumner High School in the Saint Louis Public Schools district with dreams of attending college and playing sports professionally. 

Although he secured sports scholarships to attend college out of state, his parents –afraid for the safety of their only son during the time of the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – refused to let him go away.

“He chose to tell me his story, because he didn't want me to stop going for my goals like he did when faced with fear and opposition. He wanted to let me know that he and my mother were in full support of my dreams and all I had to do was step out on faith and keep moving forward,” she said.

mea hampton portrait

Now Hampton hopes her story encourages others, especially minorities, to consider information technology as a career. 

“Don’t be afraid and jump right on in. You will be amazed at how many positions are available in this field. Most people I meet assume that IT is just full of programmers, but there is so much more you can do,” she said.

“I have seen positions ranging from chief information officers and technical staff to project managers and administrative assistants. The key is to know your strengths and what you want to do. When it comes to resources, outside of going to school, you can take online courses through websites like Udemy.com or join a local group like LaunchCode. There are so many resources available out there, but the key is to know where you want to start. It will make the process easier.”

While she enjoys helping others understand computers and providing support in her current role, she plans to one day build her skills and credentials in IT service management and big data analytics while continuing to educate students in higher education. 

Outside of work, spending time with family and being a positive-role model to her daughter and son, Ariel Nash, 18, and D’Marion Clark, 17, is very important to Hampton. 

She teaches IT on her Instagram and TikTok pages under the handle @meahampton, is an urban homesteader who grows her own food and loves to cook from scratch. 

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