MCCC Alum Keighley Hullfish ’19 Found a New Life Across the Pond

Story by Brandon Johnson

Princeton, N.J. – “If money weren’t an object, what job would you work and where would you live?” Keighley Hullfish ’19 and her friends asked each other one night at a pub.

The evening wasn’t planned to be the first step in Hullfish mapping out her dream life. She and her friends regularly met up to talk, and commiserate, about life.

Hullfish is originally from Taunton, an English town in which she lived with her mother. In 2003, Hullfish's mother passed away from cancer, prompting her to move in with her uncle and his three children, whom she says have "become siblings to me!" 

She moved out on her on when she was 17, teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten full-time in Somerset while working part-time at a restaurant and clothing store. A graduate from The Castle School, Hullfish earned her UK teaching certifications at Somerset College of Arts and Technology in 2013.

But in 2014, after that conversation with her friends, Hullfish eyed a new destiny for herself in the place she wanted to live most: America.

Hullfish said she quickly got to work, exploring how to make her dream possible.

“I stayed up until ridiculously late and researched all of my possibilities,” Keighley recounted. “I quickly realized there were barriers. I couldn’t just go to America, I needed a visa. I couldn’t just teach in America, I needed the right credentials.”

Hullfish was only mildly deterred. She scoured the internet for ways she could get started on her new life.

“I stumbled across a listing looking for an au pair, and I had no idea what that was,” Hullfish said.

A term of French origin, au pairs are live-in homemakers and child caretakers. It translates to “equal to,” suggesting that, unlike other domestic workers, au pairs are expected to be involved with their employer’s family lives beyond the typical, nine-to-five duties.

Hulfish answered the ad and moved to Princeton in 2014. In 2016, she enrolled at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in the education program.    

At MCCC, Hullfish got active on campus through the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Society. With the help of Mercer’s Alpha Theta Gamma chapter, Hullfish ran bake sales, Bingo nights and other fundraisers and activities.

“PTK for me was a whirlwind experience,” Hullfish said. During her time at Mercer, Hullfish was elected Vice President of Fellowship.

“I went from sitting in the back of the room listening to meetings to running them.”

Hullfish applied the same hardworking mentality to her studies as she did her service. In 2019, she graduated from MCCC with a 4.0 GPA.

She was also 36 weeks pregnant.

“Since Mercer I’ve gotten married, had my daughter, Harper,” Hullfish said. Now, she works at Dow Jones, and noted that her au pair family is still in her life, occasionally babysitting Harper for her.

“My future isn’t exactly how I thought it would pan out, but it has far exceeded my expectations,” Hullfish said.

“So, forget about money. Forget about all of those barriers in your way,” Hullfish advised. “Ask yourself, ‘Where do I want to live? What do I want to do?’”

“Let that conversation inspire you towards your future.”

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Keighley Hullfish '19 was a leading member of MCCC's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter. She was the Alumni speaker for the 2020 Induction ceremony. 

keighley hullfish 2

Hullfish, far left, graduated with a 4.0 GPA and an A.A. in Education.