Students who take online courses face unique challenges. Often they're juggling a full-time career, family, and the reality of being physically removed from their home campus. But they have consistently proven to be a highly motivated, goal-oriented class of achievers. Here are just a few of their stories.
When senior Jill Lucas, Dodge Center, MN, began her online degree, she already had a two-year degree in radiology from Riverland Community College in Austin, MN. Following her graduation from Riverland, she went to work for Immanuel St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mankato, MN, and a year later moved to a new position in the radiology department at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where she has worked for the past 13 years.
Mark Romportl’s work at a camp for children with diabetes has had a lifelong effect on him. “It solidified my compassion for patients with endocrine disorders,” he said. That compassion—and desire to help improve the lives of those living with endocrine disorders—led him to his current position at an adult endocrinology clinic.
As a nurse, Teri Verner saw the benefits of less-invasive, more natural approaches to improving the health of patients, but after more than 20 years of providing care in long-term and home-care settings, it became clear to her that the medical system was focused on disease management rather than health care.
Amber Oestreich is an overachiever. She holds two jobs, is pursuing her BS in International Business, and recently fit in a study abroad trip to South Africa. She shares how she juggles her responsibilities and what her future may hold.
Bridget Steffes' story as a nontraditional online student is one many can relate to. She was a young mother who chose to set aside the completion of her degree to focus on raising her family. Almost two decades later, she decided it was time for her to focus on herself.
For graduate Joe Cretesio, the Crookston campus means a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and a chance to dream. "When you wake up in the morning, you need to have dreams," Cretesio says. "And you need to remember that age is not a prerequisite to attaining a quality education."
Jim O'Brien was destined to play professional hockey, and sure enough, he was drafted to the National Hockey League (NHL) at the age of 18. It was an incredible opportunity. However, O’Brien’s choice to play meant that he would have to put another opportunity on hold—his college education.
After receiving her doctor of nursing practice degree in midwifery, Meg Workman moved to Aitkin, MN, to provide health care to women living in the northern Minnesota town of 2,200 people. “I have always imagined myself practicing midwifery in a small community,” said Workman.
At the core of Jaime Arthur’s calling is strengthening families—her own, those in her community, and anyone else's she can reach. “My grandparents always told me they had big dreams for me,” she says, “and I plan on achieving those dreams for them and my children."
Public Health and Public Policy (Dual Master's)
Dia Sanders is pursuing a dual graduate degree in public health (through the School of Public Health) and public policy (through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs). She chose the University of Minnesota because both the public health program and the policy program have proven track records of students working hands-on in the fields. Sanders works full-time in North Dakota but was able to answer a few questions about her experience being an online student.