Tiffany Rinehart

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts

College/School: College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts

When Tiffany Rinehart was only 5 years old, her mother was in a car accident that left her permanently disabled. Tiffany became her mother’s primary caregiver. As soon as she turned 16, she started working fulltime to financially support herself and help her mother.

Since then, Tiffany hasn’t stopped working. She has balanced school and caretaking and held countless jobs over the years – at Burger King, other restaurants and even a shoe store – just to make ends meet. Tiffany simply calls this “survival.”

Tiffany’s definition of survival is also about being there when others have needed her. When Tiffany’s aunt was diagnosed with lung cancer, Tiffany was by her side the entire time. When Tiffany’s boss got a phone call that his mother – who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease – fell and broke her hip, Tiffany rushed to the hospital with him and later assisted with the mother’s daily care.

During tough times, Tiffany said she remembers what a nurse told her when, as a teenager, she survived a car accident unscathed, but her mother was injured: “Time is going to pass. It’s what you have to show for it that counts.”

Today, Tiffany has a lot to show. She’s graduating with a 3.8 GPA – and through her hard work and determination, she also made one of her longtime dreams come true: in the fall, she will be attending NYU to earn her Master of Arts in Media, Culture and Communication. 

By Angela Nicoletti
Senior Writer, Office of Media Relations