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'It’s not where you start, but it’s where you end up': Mom leaves criminal past behind, earns master's degree from ASU

After serving time in federal prison, Margaret Hall changed her life. In five years, she's earned three college degrees, including a master's degree.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Every Arizona State University graduate works hard to get to graduation day – but Margaret Hall’s journey may have taken a little more determination.

Life didn’t look too promising for Margaret Hall six years ago.

“During this time, I was actually sitting in a federal prison for a class C felony,” said Hall.

After serving a six-month sentence, 47-year-old Hall and mother of six decided to change her life and go back to school.

“Strive for bigger dreams and bigger goals. I didn’t want my children to think that was going to be the last chapter of my story,” said Hall.

Against all odds – self-doubt and the stigma of being a convicted felon – Hall enrolled at Glendale Community College and then transferred to ASU. Since then, she’s never looked back. She’s earned three degrees in five years.

“Every semester for the past five years. No summers off, no breaks,” said Hall.

She earned scholarships along the way. Including a grant from the Jeannette Rankin Foundation awards scholarships and grants to women age 35 and older pursuing a college education.

Thursday, she walked the stage in Desert Financial Arena, a summa cum laude graduate with a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and prelaw. She wants to start a grant writing business to help non-profit organizations that help others achieve.

“It’s not where you start, but it’s where you end up,” said Hall.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: 'No es donde comienzas, sino donde terminas': Una madre del Valle deja atrás su pasado criminal y obtiene una maestría en ASU

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