Becoming a Forensic Artist After 40—Proof it’s Never Too Late to Go to College

Have you considered going back to school but think you’re too old for it? Perhaps you don’t know what you’d major in, or worry that you’ve forgotten how to be a student. Forensic artist, Sharon Long, once had similar reservations. But she wound up discovering and pursuing her calling at the age of 40.

StoryCorps interviewed Sharon about her experience of going back to school—a decision she made while enrolling her daughter in college. After mentioning to a financial aid officer that she wished she could enroll as well, the woman convinced her it wasn’t too late and helped her fill out the paperwork.

Though she originally enrolled as an art student, Sharon took a class on physical anthropology to complete a science requirement, and, she said that’s when, “Bang! I decided it’s what I want to be when I grow up.”

Sharon worked as a forensic artist up until the age of 71, creating sculptures of human faces based on skulls, some as ancient as 9,000 years old. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, and on the History Channel, and the show America’s Most Wanted.

How going back to school helped Sharon discover her true passion:

Sharon was a mother of two and working two jobs to get by when she realized college could be a part of her story. When will your college story begin? Explore Colorado State University’s online programs to see if there’s a program you’re ready to pursue, and hear more stories of people going back to school later in life.

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