Alumni Newsletter

Alumni Newsletter
2012 Winter Commencement Class
Lawrence Akintokun
Lawrence Akintokun initially earned his teaching
degree in chemistry in his home country of Nigeria. He had already taught high school chemistry
for five years before relocating to the United States
with his wife and young family, where he worked
in security until the Georgia state board determined that he needed additional college credits to
fulfill certification. Wanting to expand his knowledge in his chosen career and gain a highly qualified status in his certification, Lawrence says he
had almost given up finding a university to fit his
needs when a friend told him to check out the web
site for Western Governors University. His educational career began with WGU in 2009, Lawrence
says, with reasonable and affordable fees and
flexible hours. At WGU, he enjoyed the available
resources, and the ever-ready mentors with their
support. What was most important, Lawrence
continues, is that he concluded his program with
very little in student loans, unlike many of his
friends who attended other universities. He not
only acquired the college experience he needed
for his certification, he earned a Master of Arts in
Science Education (Chemistry, 5-12) degree.
mere chance, but requires self-discipline and
perseverance. “WGU has
taught me to be a good
time manager and to
make use of every minute that goes by.” As the
tenth child in a large extended family, Lawrence
recalls that he struggled
to have an education,
for his parents were not
educated at all. Achieving his degree means the
world to him, he says, and can help him secure his
job and increase his salary. Lawrence says, “This
was the first time I ever took an online program….
It was an unimaginable and awesome experience.”
“WGU has taught me to be a good time manager
and to make use of every minute that goes by.”
-WGU Alum, Lawrence Akintokun
Lawrence plans to put into practice everything
he learned during his WGU experience, he says,
and he emphasizes that success is not achieved by
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Tammy Lay
Tammy Lay began her nursing career in a small rural hospital with an associate’s degree in nursing,
advanced to house supervisor, and later worked
in public health until 2005 when she was promoted to a community home health coordinator.
She wants to be able to perform at a higher level,
and says, “Completion of my degree was a lifelong
goal.” Tammy says she and her husband live on a
small farm, and she also wants to be an example
to their four children, two of whom are in college,
one in high school, and one in elementary school.
She searched online, comparing programs, accreditation, and cost, and Western Governors University was immediately at the top of the list. Tammy
enrolled in March 2010 and began her Bachelor of
Science in Nursing program, graduating in February 2011, and then began her Master of Science
in Nursing—Leadership and Management degree.
“Each contact with WGU staff from enrollment
to the student mentor and course mentors…was
repeatedly producing sparks of empowerment that
was just short of producing an obsession with success,” says Tammy. She praises the support from
beginning to end as immeasurable.
Tammy plans to continue in her present position
as coordinator, but also wants to pursue working
in online education. Neither
of Tammy’s parents graduated from high school, she
says, although her mother
received a GED and later
became a licensed practical nurse. Thus Tammy is
immeasurably proud of this
accomplishment of achieving
her master’s degree in nursing and feels prepared to add
to her profession. Tammy
says her biggest challenge
was that she began with no
formal education in computer technology, and
she has not only mastered her competencies but
become quite computer savvy. To her fellow WGU
alumni, Tammy says, “We will always share the
commonality of being just a click from
one another.”
“Each contact with WGU staff...was repeatedly
producing sparks of empowerment...”
-WGU Alum, Tammy Lay
Laura Kishman
Laura Kishman is often on the move as a military
spouse—in fact, she has experienced five moves
within the past three years. For Laura, being able
to earn a college degree on the go provides an
open door for herself and her family. “[A college
education] creates a lifestyle that you have wanted
for them since your family began,” she continues,
“You cannot put a price on it. It gives a sense of
self-satisfaction, worth, confidence, and stability—and that is something that no one can take
from you.” Laura researched online for months,
contacting a variety
of online schools.
She chose Western
Governors University and enrolled in
July 2008 to earn
a Bachelor of Arts
in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8). “I
have wanted to be
an educator since I
was a little girl
and accomplishing this chapter in my life means
I can do what I have always wanted to do, teach
young children and be a part of the layer in their
foundation,” she says. At WGU, Laura could pursue
and complete her degree while coping with military deployments and two small children in the
house. “I really enjoyed the mentor support,” she
says, particularly being able to speak to someone
each week or every other week about progress and
obstacles, and adds, “My mentor has encouraged
and motivated me.”
“Achieving this degree means that I have finally
fulfilled a lifelong dream,” says Laura, and plans to
obtain a full-time teaching position, substituting
when she’s not in her own classroom. She credits
her dad with having taught her never to give up
what she wanted to accomplish in life. “I have a
phenomenal family,” Laura says, adding that family and mentors gave her the boost she needed to
keep going—setting up clinical experiences in a
new school, arranging state licensure exams, and
her final step of demonstration teaching.
Nathan Buehler
Nathan Buehler began searching for an online
university that would be both flexible and affordable, and that was how he found Western
Governors University. He enrolled in March 2010
and graduated in one and one-half years with no
transfer credits, earning a Bachelor of Science in
Business Management degree. He purposefully
worked hard to complete his degree in that time
frame. Nathan says, “My friends and family will
tell you I am one of the most frugal people they
know. I am proud of not graduating with any debt.
Besides an education, this is the best thing WGU
could have given me.” In addition, Nathan says all
WGU students benefit from the university’s competitive low tuition. His degree confirms that he
can achieve anything if he works really hard, says
Nathan, crediting his mentor with being the most
important part of his WGU experience. Employed
full-time, Nathan is continuing in his current field
while pursuing opportunities in education.
Nathan grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is
close to his grandparents whom he says taught
him so much along the way. One thing he has in
common with fellow graduates, he says, is he
overcame tremendous struggles to
achieve his degree,
but he would
rather praise WGU
than talk about
challenges. “There
are many different
levels of teaching and the most
important to me
is the collegiate
level. WGU is a
very different kind of university. Not only for the
way they deliver their product, but for the value
it comes with. I believe the only way to reduce tuition across the country is to create competition.
WGU is becoming that competition.”
“WGU is a very different kind of university. Not
only for the way they deliver their product, but
for the value it comes with.”
-WGU Alum, Nathan Buehler
Kristina Craig
Kristina Craig has always loved learning and being
challenged, she says. After excelling in a career
where she developed training and consulting solutions for banks around the world, Kristina faced
an unfortunate layoff in June 2011. She immediately decided to continue to challenge herself and
pursue a college degree applying the experience
from her job over the past 10 years. Kristina chose
WGU to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business
Management degree after her brother raved about
how great the school was. “What could have been
a negative situation turned into something amazing with the completion of my business management degree at WGU,” says Kristina, adding that
she loved the WGU experience after enrolling in
August 2011. “It played to my strengths and built
up my weaknesses, keeping me motivated every
step of the way,” Kristina says, and she enjoyed the
challenge of applying what she learned in a realworld scenario.
The same day her mentor told Kristina that
she had completed her degree, Kristina was
back to work. Along with her former executive
management team, Kristina launched a new
business entitled Global Bankers Institute
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( “My
degree documents the additional experience obtained from my work and banking industry certifications, and allowed me to further my expertise
in running a business,” Kristina says. Her plans are
to continue growing the new company and possibly pursuing an MBA through WGU. “Achieving
a BS in business management from WGU was the
best choice I made after a disappointing setback.
I’m proud to have
grown from my experiences and to be a WGU
graduate,” says Kristina,
who is determined to
continue to show her
two kids that hard
work pays off. “I feel
like the luckiest person
in the world because I
really do have it all—an
amazing family, immediate and extended,
a great career outlook,
and an awesome degree
from WGU.”
Cruz Gracia
Cruz Gracia is a firm believer in finishing what
he starts, and expresses his regret that he did not
complete a bachelor’s degree he began years ago
or to have that degree early in his career, but better late than never he says. Cruz searched online
and found Western Governors University as well
as some of its online ads. As an experienced IT
professional working full time, Cruz enrolled in
August 2010. He says he most enjoyed finishing
“WGU is without question a model for education in the 21st century and beyond!”
-WGU Alum, Cruz Gracia
his tasks and a fulfilling sense of accomplishment
every time he ended a term 100% on track in his
progress toward his degree. “I also enjoyed helping and meeting other like-minded students here
at WGU,” he says.
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Cruz says
his mother graduated from high school, while
his father did not complete high school. Neither
he nor his sister completed college the first
time, so he is the first
person in his family to
attain a college degree.
With his sense of accomplishment from
earning his Bachelor of
Science in Information
Design and Management
degree, Cruz plans to
attend graduate school
at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to
pursue a Master of Science in Information Systems
degree. Even with a history of the complex certifications that he had earned over the past decade,
Cruz says, “I knew QLC1 and QLT1 [the math
courses] would be really big challenges.” However,
doing the homework each and every day was more
than enough for him to pass the math requirement at WGU, he says. Beyond his graduation and
degree, Cruz says WGU helped him gain a fulfilling
sense of purpose. “Putting forth the work required
to attain my bachelor’s degree really has instilled
a sense of pride. WGU is without question a model
for education in the 21st century and beyond!”
Amanda Fairbanks
Amanda Fairbanks excelled at her rural Georgia
high school where the graduation rate was very
low, and was on the Who’s Who Among American
Students list for four years. She says, “All of my
family…only received a high school diploma or
less. I desired an education to better my family and
pursue my life goals.” Amanda says her parents,
both serving in the United States Navy, instilled in
her a strong work ethic and desire to achieve. One
of her goals was to become a teacher, after she had
experienced helping other students in high school. She recalls,
“The delight of it came when my
peers fully understood and did
not need my assistance anymore.
This is when I knew my calling
was to become a teacher.” She
earned an associate’s degree in
early childhood education, and
heard about Western Governors
University from a college peer. By
that time Amanda had married
her high school sweetheart, had
begun a family, and was working
full time, and she says she found it
impossible to consider a
site-based school. She enrolled at WGU in 2006 in
the Bachelor of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies
(K-8) program. Amanda plans to teach young
children as well as eventually teach college.
“The guidance WGU gave me when I first started
helped me balance my family, work, health, and
school,” Amanda says. She credits her mentor with
pushing her to succeed, and now intends to earn
a master’s degree at WGU and pursue a doctorate. While at WGU, Amanda says, she coped with a
brain tumor and its side effects, and a tornado that
devastated her town. Now her health is back and
she’s receiving a promotion at work. “Instead of
letting challenges and obstacles get in my way…I
am proud to admit I am a life-long learner,”
Amanda says.
“The guidance WGU gave me when I first
started helped me balance my family, work,
health, and school.”
-WGU Alum, Amanda Fairbanks
Robert Wes Lambert
Robert Wes Lambert loves computers, and he
wanted a college degree as a way to succeed and
be of value to society, yet he had a full-time work
schedule and was starting a family. He heard
about Western Governors University from his
“The school has a fantastic structure and
competency approach that allows you to
complete your program at your own pace.”
-WGU Alum, Wes Lambert
stepmother, whose friend graduated from the
teaching program at WGU. Wes says he was blown
away. He enrolled at WGU in June 2010 to pursue
a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology—Networks Design and Management
degree. “What I enjoyed most about WGU was
how flexible it was,” says Wes, adding that WGU
was a godsend in this respect given his time
constraints. Wes found WGU to be extremely affordable and he feels the mentors were fantastic.
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“The school has a fantastic structure and competency approach that allows you to complete your
program at your own pace,” Wes says, “and for me
that pace most of the time was blistering, but I
appreciated the ability to accelerate my learning.”
Achieving his degree equates to success, says Wes,
that can be measured on several levels—to make
his parents proud (including his mother who
passed away when he was a teen), and himself. “I
am proud of myself for dedicating myself to my
studies and achieving a goal I set.” Wes says he
has lost focus at different times in his life in the
past, but this time he did not give up. He plans to
gain experience as a networking professional, and
currently is seeking work as a senior administrator. He hopes to contribute to the advancement of
technology within his discipline, he says. Wes says
his recent victories include purchasing a home,
as well as his dedication and hard work in several
jobs as he attended school, cared for a new baby,
and saved money to make it possible. “It was all
worth it,” says Wes.
Bonnie Geisen
As one class led to another at a community college, Bonnie Geisen took 20 years to earn her
associate’s in special education—the first person
in her family to attain a degree—and she didn’t
stop there. As the mother of three, two of whom
have special needs, Bonnie says this is where her
real schooling took place. She learned everything
she could, taking seminars in advocacy, learning disabilities, and education. That background
brought her to Western Governors University, she
says. Bonnie was frustrated from experiences in
the school system, recalling, “The teachers just
didn’t seem to understand how my kids worked. I
believed if I became a special education teacher, I
would make a difference.” She searched online for
a self-paced program, and she says WGU seemed
the perfect fit for a stay-at-home mom with a lot of
special education knowledge. She enrolled in January 2011. Bonnie says the best part of WGU was
applying her knowledge to move faster, and she
adds, “I enjoyed working with the mentors who
were an important personal connection to
the school.”
With her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education
(K-12) degree, Bonnie is teaching at a private
school. Achieving this degree demonstrates to
her children the importance
of education and persistence,
she says. “WGU is the only
place I know that someone can
accomplish this...Do not get
me wrong, there were times I
think my husband was planning to call the doctor to have
the laptop surgically removed
from my hands. And while
I sacrificed most of my free
time, it is husband and children who have sacrificed the
most. Over the last year…my
time and energies have been dedicated to
completing this degree. So, when I say I have
graduated, I really mean WE have graduated.”
Bonnie plans to return to WGU to obtain a
master’s in special education.
“I enjoyed working with the mentors who
were an important personal connection
to the school.”
-WGU Alum, Bonnie Geisen
Laura James-Payton
Earning a bachelor’s degree was always a personal
goal for Laura James-Payton, she says, but she did
not believe she would be able to accomplish the
goal on her schedule. Laura is a past vice president
of engineering, has worked in technology development and in the business arena for many years, is
a published author, and is currently working for a
worldwide online technology company in the area
of student services delivery. Her husband has an
ongoing illness requiring medical treatment and
care, so Laura says she needed the ability to work
at her own pace and to take multiple courses in a
session at a price that was affordable. Taking care
of her home, husband, and working full time is a
big commitment, so adding school to her workload was a challenge, says Laura. She researched
several online opportunities, she says, and the
business program at Western Governors University was the most appealing to her. She enrolled
in October 2010. Laura says, “The ability to earn
a degree online at my own pace made this goal a
realistic possibility.”
Laura says that earning a
Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree is an
important milestone for her,
and it now has enabled her to
continue her graduate education. She plans to enroll at
WGU to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA)
degree. “It has given me a tremendous sense of accomplishment,” she says, crediting the
flexibility of the WGU program
with allowing her to earn her
degree. “I am a wife and the mother of three grown
children…I hope to serve as a role model to others
who might believe that earning a degree in their
fifties is not realistic,” says Laura, and adds, “Let’s
make each day a journey of discovery with the
understanding that we will never stop learning.”
Lakievia Curd
As a former foster child, Lakievia Curd always
believed a good education was the only way she
would be able to provide a positive lifestyle for
herself. “After I had my first child, the need to attend college became that much more important,”
she says, and obtaining a college degree became a
priority for her. However, Lakievia says she soon
found that childcare and convenience became issues at a traditional college, and had begun looking into online colleges when her cousin in the
reserves recommended Western Governors University. Lakievia decided it was the perfect school
for her and enrolled in June 2008 in the Bachelor
of Science in Marketing Management program. “I
loved the freedom and
the flexibility the university offers,” she says.
“I also really enjoy the
one on one time I get
with my mentor.” She
liked being able to learn
as much as she wanted
for the same amount
of money, and the free
resources provided
by WGU. Lakievia now
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emphasizes, “For me, obtaining my degree means
nothing less than success. It also means that I have
successfully set positive footsteps for my daughters to follow.”
Lakievia says, “I like to think I have many victories.” She plans to continue her education and pursue not only a master’s degree, but a doctorate, and
hopes to begin her career at a great company—
perhaps with WGU. As the mother of two young
“I loved the freedom and the flexibility
the university (WGU) offers.”
-WGU Alum, Lakievia Curd
daughters age 4 and 6, Lakievia says she owes
her daughters so much for being supportive and
cheering her on while she pursued an education,
and adds, “I think I want to give them a certificate
of appreciation and take them on vacation, because
they’ve been students too and they deserve a trip
to Disney World for being so supportive and continuing to be my biggest fans.”
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Michelle Pitchford
Michelle Pitchford became a substitute teacher
when her youngest child was in first grade and
discovered she liked teaching, she says, yet lacked
a required two-year degree when she applied to
be a paraprofessional. “I decided that if I was going
to college, it would not be for just two years,” she
says, aiming for a bachelor’s degree. At the community college, many courses were not offered
when she could take them, so she went online and
found Western Governors University.
Michelle considered
carefully and then
enrolled in March
2007 in the Bachelor
of Arts in Special
Education (K-12)
degree program. The
support that WGU
gives students is
amazing, she says,
and the six-month
semesters were a
Amy Whitener
bonus. “Western Governors University allowed me
to study, work on tasks, and take exams when it
was convenient for me,” says Michelle. Achieving
her WGU degree gives her the freedom to choose
where she wants to work, she says, since she
earned a dual general/special education degree to
go where the challenges are, and is not locked into
specific grades, or regular or special education.
Mixing college into her already busy schedule with
family and full-time work was a challenge, says
Michelle, but she made it with support from her
husband and two children, age 20 and 14. She
adds that WGU took the time constraints out of
earning a college degree because she didn’t have
to be in a classroom two or three nights a week
and miss family times. “I hope that I have been a
positive role model for my children…I want them
to know that if I can go back to school at 40 years
old, after being out of school for 21 years, with a
husband, family and full-time job, that they can
achieve anything they set their hearts and minds
to,” says Michelle.
Amy Whitener, who earned her Master of Education in Learning and Technology degree, says she
has always been the type of person to go for the
next big thing in her life, focusing on one goal at
a time. While others may choose to pursue an
advanced degree for money, prestige, accomplishment, or even just pride in self, she says, she
wanted to attain the master’s degree title next to
“The ultimate deciding factor for me...was the
relative ease with which I could make time to
study and complete the program.”
-WGU Alum, Amy Whitener
her name. She searched extensively for an institution and master’s program that would best suit
her personal interests and expertise, and explains
why she chose Western Governors University, “The
ultimate deciding factor for me…was the relative
ease with which I could make time to study and
complete the program.”
After enrolling in July 2010, Amy enjoyed the
program’s self-sufficiency, saying, “It was important to me to be placed in charge of my own
education, to have my questions answered quickly, and
to be shown exactly what was
expected of me.” Amy says her
mentor kept her on track and
weekly phone calls became
an anchor. Amy now plans to
apply what she has learned,
integrating new technological
skills and evaluation techniques to her curriculum
to benefit her current and
future students. Amy also
received a raise in income and
educational recognition. She
continues, “I am the first in
my family to attain this high
standard of educational accomplishment,” and her
title will be a constant reminder of her own and
WGU’s determination. Amy tells about her challenges—she combined gifted endorsement classes
from her district alongside her master’s work at
WGU, planned her wedding, and coped with the
aftermath of a tornado that ripped through Ringgold in spring 2011. Amy says a major benefit of
attending WGU is that she could navigate these
events, many out of her control, without falling
behind in her education.
Theresa McCormick
Theresa McCormick, as a first-year
teacher with a Bachelor of Arts
in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8)
from Western Governors University, says she still has moments when
she thinks, “Wow, I’m actually a
teacher!” She earned an associate’s degree about 15 years ago, yet
married shortly after graduation
and started a family. She worked at
a church that offered a preschool
where her three children attended,
and realized it was the right time
to finish college so she could start
teaching by the time her youngest
began kindergarten. Theresa heard about WGU
from a family member. She enrolled in Teachers
College in August 2008, almost a year after her
father passed away unexpectedly, and says WGU
gave her something to look forward to during a
dark time. She liked the flexibility, and says, “I
could work at my own speed and feel like I had
some control of my life. If my kids were sick, I
could still work on my schoolwork from home.
WGU allowed me the freedom to be a mom and
a student.” Theresa graduated in December 2011
She had an amazing support system through the
entire process, Theresa says. “I couldn’t have done
it without any one part of my family.” Theresa
is working as a third-grade teacher at the same
school where she did her demonstration teaching
(DT) and that her children attend. “Achieving my
degree means many things to me. It means that I
can be a mom at all times of the year. I don’t have
“I could work at my own speed and feel like I
had some control of my life.”
-WGU Alum, Theresa McCormick
to work when they are out of school. It means that
I have proven that it’s never too late to change
your life. It means that I have inspired others and
made so many people proud of me. It means that I
have chosen to change my life and I have reached
for the stars and actually touched them!”
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Shauna Sweeney
Shauna Sweeney was an adult way before her
time, she explains—her father was in the U.S.
Navy and they moved frequently, so Shauna
changed schools every year; her mother died of
cancer when Shauna was 10 years old; and she
suffered privation and other family difficulties.
“Life was hard,” Shauna says, yet she wanted
more and never thought of giving up. “I thought
of what life could be,” she says, and she worked
50-hour weeks while completing high school to
get ahead, graduating in the top 5% of her class.
Shauna married her high school sweetheart, and
they’ve been married 13 years with two children,
age 11 and 7. When Shauna did substitute teaching in their school system, she realized she loved
teaching. Once her children began school, Shauna
decided to go to college. With her extremely busy
schedule of work, family, and community activities, she needed a university that would allow
her to work at her own pace, even accelerate, and
give her credit for life experience. She found and
enrolled in Western Governors University in July
2009 in the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood
Education program.
“I was able to take
assessments when I
was ready, and I did
not have to wait or be
held to a certain timetable,” says Shauna.
Shauna has been
offered a teaching
position at the same
school where she did her demonstration teaching,
and she plans to return to WGU for her master’s
degree. Shauna says her degree means success. “I
am 32 years old and will finally walk across the
stage as a graduate. Our life is great. I took what
I was given in my childhood, learned from my experiences, and made the best life possible for my
own children,” says Shauna, “I am happy.”
Edith Smith
Edith Smith has been a nurse for over 20 years, and
discovered she has a love for teaching. Since a nursing education career requires a master’s degree,
Edith says she searched online and found Western
Governors University. She enrolled in 2007 as the
first student in the Master of Science in Nursing—
Education program. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my
time at WGU,” says Edith. “The mentors have been
very helpful and extremely caring. Their knowledge
and experience has given me the confidence that I
can succeed in this endeavor and in anything else
I attempt.” She worked independently on her own
time while never really being alone, she says, adding, “I was able to build on my previous knowledge
and experience.” With her master’s degree from
WGU, Edith is now pursuing a position as an
instructor with a school of nursing, and says, “I
want to help mold the next generation of nurses.”
“The mentors have been very helpful and
extremely caring.”
-WGU Alum, Edith Smith
Edith explains that she
graduated from high school,
married, and raised three
children for 11 years, then
earned her licensed practical
nurse and worked full-time
while fulfilling prerequisites
for registered nurse. During
this time, her father died and
she divorced. Edith earned
her bachelor’s degree in nursing, and remarried.
Her husband has been her biggest cheerleader.
“Becoming a nurse has been one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions I have ever made.
I have been able to experience the beginning and
end of lives, the joys and the sorrows…have seen
many changes and improvements…in health care.”
With only a few courses left in her master’s degree
at WGU, Edith unexpectedly had to take a year-long
break to relocate and nurse her mother from heart
surgery, she says, but easily picked up where she
left off thanks to WGU. “Life happens,” says Edith,
“and it is never too late to continue your goals.”
Dawn Higgins
Dawn Higgins began college over 20 years ago,
she says, yet left without finishing, and life’s many
detours eventually led her to working in a school
to be closer to her children. Dawn rediscovered
her fondness and love for children and that all she
wants to do is teach them, and says, “I have worked
in this private school for almost 10 years in a number of areas, but teaching is where I want to be.” She
says she heard about Western Governors University
from a young woman doing her WGU student teaching where Dawn works, and who had only good
things to say about WGU, its flexibility, and how
well it worked for the student’s busy life. Dawn says
she remembered that in childhood she had wanted
to become a teacher, but later was discouraged by a
high school peer, and she says, “Don’t doubt…yourself. If you have a dream, you have it for a reason.
To pursue it.” Dawn enrolled in June 2007. “I totally
enjoyed the flexibility of the schedule at WGU. My
course work was challenging. Both of these aspects
were important to me.” With her Bachelor of Arts in
Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8) degree, Dawn says
she will stay at the same school, but has received a
promotion and finally will have her own classroom,
adding, “Now I will be called a Teacher!”
Already parents of two daughters age 9 and 13,
Dawn says she and her husband decided to become
foster parents to two teen girls about the time she
began her studies. While it meant taking on huge
commitments at the same time, Dawn says, “We
have experienced great joy in seeing them mature
and grow.” She says that achieving her degree has
been extremely important not only to herself but to
show her girls that they can do it too.
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Hans Miller
Hans Miller has been on a ten-year quest for his
advanced degree, one with extreme difficulties
and what seemed like insurmountable obstacles
at the time. Currently a quantitative analyst in the
banking industry, Hans has been a business and
risk analyst at other financial institutions as well
over the past decade. He searched in Google for an
accredited online university. The affordability, independence, and competency-based evaluations at
Western Governors University made Hans decide
that WGU was the right choice for him to complete
his Bachelor of Science in Finance degree. Hans
enrolled in January 2006, and says, “I enjoyed the
flexibility and independence that allowed me to
acclimate to my early professional career while I
progressed academically.” Hans found the mentor model at WGU incredible. So much so that
he has mentorships in nearly every aspect of his
life, which have helped him to grow immensely.
“I also give back by paying it forward as a mentor
for several people.” He is working toward several
designations, including chartered financial analyst
(CFA), and is entering a top world-ranked master’s
degree program at Creighton University in security analysis and portfolio management. To help
budding entrepreneurs, Hans is establishing and
chartering an investment
banking and venture capital
consulting practice.
Hans was promoted into a
management role during
his studies at WGU, and his
employer requested that he
switch programs to meet
their requirements so they
could keep paying a portion
of his college education. His
mentors provided him with
the support and ammunition to finish strong, he says,
and that his accolade of earning a high number of
credit units within a year is a testament to their
dedication and they should be recognized for their
passion. “No words could ever describe how this
accomplishment felt,” says Hans, adding, “One
hundred years from now people will be educated
in ways we cannot imagine, yet technology will
increase its role…We are part of something greater
than ourselves.”
Beth Felts
Beth Felts realized after the birth of her two
children that she would be unable to fulfill their
dreams until she had fulfilled her own. She
researched both traditional and online universities, selecting Western Governors University, and
says, “I…felt that WGU provided a rigorous and
relevant course of study that would truly prepare
me for the role of an educator in today’s educational system.” She enrolled at WGU in 2005
to earn a degree in elementary education.
In October 2011, Beth began her Master of Education in Learning and Technology at WGU. She adds,
“WGU instilled in me a love to learn. Not simply to
check off a list of tasks to get this piece of paper in
the end, but a true desire to understand, inquire,
“WGU instilled in me a love to learn.”
-WGU Alum, Beth Felts
and create my own learning. This desire led me
to not only complete my bachelor’s degree, but
to immediately begin a master’s program.” She
says she recently re-enrolled at WGU with a goal
to pursue a second master’s degree, this one in
educational leadership.
WGU allowed her the flexibility to pursue her
educational endeavors while meeting her family’s
needs, says Beth, and she is the first person in her
family to receive a college education. During her
WGU studies, Beth says, “I faced medical concerns
that led to major surgery, and yet was able to complete my degree with little time lost. This would
have not been possible in a traditional university
setting.” With her bachelor’s degree, Beth was
promoted to a classroom teaching position in a
local high school and became a curricular developer for a new course of study to be piloted in her
state next year. “WGU has helped me to realize my
potential to not only be involved in the planning
of the school, but to be instrumental in curricular
development and school improvement.”
Michelle Fortune
Through hard work and dedication, Michelle
Fortune says she advanced in her nearly 20-year
nursing career well beyond her education as a
two-year registered nurse to become the CEO of
a hospital, but she desired the validation of her
expertise through an advanced degree. In fact,
Michelle pursued two degrees—a Bachelor of
Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Business
Administration—Healthcare Management through
Western Governors University. She found WGU
after researching online for a reputable university
that would allow her to accelerate her studies
based on established competency. She enrolled in
2009 after her parents and her husband encouraged her to do so, and says, “The ability to accelerate and demonstrate knowledge I had gained in
the workplace was very valuable to me.” Michelle
also enjoyed her WGU mentors, she says—one for
the nursing program and one for the MBA program—who helped her stay on track to achieve
her goal, adding, “They were wonderful!” While
her degrees make her more marketable, says
Michelle, she will continue in her role as a healthcare executive and likely will return to WGU to get
her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Ultimately, she plans to pursue a doctorate.
“I have been
very successful
in my career
and often supervised people
with advanced
my MBA gives
me validation
of my level of
says Michelle.
She considers
it a huge victory that she was able to balance a job
where she travels along with family life and school.
Michelle says her husband’s support for her career
has been astounding as he relocated with each
promotion first to Texas and then Colorado. They
happily returned to North Carolina two years ago
after she was promoted within her company. “It
has been amazing to be back with our families, and
I still get to do a job that challenges me and is very
rewarding,” says Michelle.
Lori Jacobson
She wanted to be a teacher all her life and her
three siblings became teachers, but because Lori
Jacobson was so smart, she was encouraged in
high school to do something “more challenging.”
On full scholarship, she earned a computer information systems (CIS) degree and spent 10 years
in the computer industry. She married right after
college, had one child, and due to health issues, she
and her husband adopted two children from foster
care. While raising their children, now 17, 12, and
11, Lori realized she still wanted to teach. “I did an
exhaustive amount of research on different colleges—both brick-and-mortar and online—and WGU
emerged as the best choice,” says Lori. She enrolled in June 2009. As a fast learner, Lori says she
loved the competency-based learning and having a
mentor support her throughout the entire journey.
“This degree means so much more to me than the
one I got at the age of 22,” says Lori, because she
chose it, paid for it, and worked hard. With her
Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics (5-12) degree, Lori
plans to teach—just teach, she says, not be an
administrator. “I just want to share my love of
math and enthusiasm for teaching with my
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students.” Lori also
wants to earn her
master’s degree
in learning and
Her biggest challenge Lori says is
that her marriage
of 23 years ended
as she was completing her WGU
degree, yet the
self-confidence she gained through WGU and her
anticipation of teaching carried her through. She
adds that she had two interviews and an offer immediately after completing demonstration teaching. Lori says this has been both the worst and best
year of her life as she experienced success as never
before, feels fully trained, and is ready to begin her
new job and the next chapter of her life.
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Samantha Marin
As a child, Samantha Marin dreamed of being a
teacher—but says she already knew she would go
to college to achieve her dream. Samantha found
Western Governors University through her uncle,
who earned his master’s degree at WGU, and asked
Samantha if she’d heard of it. “How can I explain
how perfectly suited WGU was for my life?” she
says, explaining that, in September 2006 when
she enrolled, she had no other way of attending
college and school had to be adaptable to her life.
“This was the biggest and most important aspect
of WGU,” she says. The oldest of four siblings,
Samantha is the first in her family to earn a degree. Few in her community thought she would
finish high school since she had married young
and was pregnant when she graduated from high
school, she says, but she graduated with honors.
Life happens, Samantha says, marriage, babies, divorce, then remarriage. She and her husband now
have five children, and Samantha wanted what she
had put on the backburner. “It takes time to become broken and it takes time to heal. Earning my
degree from WGU taught me that it takes hard
work and determination to reach your goals.”
With a Bachelor of Arts, Educational Studies (K-8)
degree from WGU, Samantha plans to teach full
time in the same school district where she has
been substitute teaching since 2009, and adds, “I
can already smell my new classroom!” She earned
long assignments as a substitute at the district
with her computer experience and knowledge
of educational studies. School principals have
allowed her to construct her own teaching methods as needed for each class and grade with
students who required differentiated instruction.
WGU graduates, Samantha says, know how challenging it was to juggle our families, careers, lives,
and school, “But we also know that it was worth
the challenge.”
“Earning my degree from WGU taught me
that it takes hard work and determination
to reach your goals.”
-WGU Alum, Samantha Marin
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Leslie Smith
Leslie Smith pursued a college education because
of her desire to teach and the need for good, qualified teachers. “I have a heart to teach and want to
shine a light upon others lives that may not feel
loved or cared for,” says Leslie. She found Western
Governors University through the NCATE accreditation site for online schools and enrolled in March
2010. She and her husband have pursued college
degrees since they married in 2004, and Leslie
says that through all the trials of their lives, they
have stood strong and stayed determined to see
each other succeed. At WGU, Leslie says she enjoyed the cohort seminar and getting to meet others around the world who were pursuing the same
degree. “The most important aspect to me was
striving and doing whatever it took to complete
my degree,” she adds. “Achieving my degree means
that no matter what you may go through when you
set a goal, and do whatever it takes to see that goal
met, nothing is impossible.”
With her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary
Studies K-8 degree, Leslie says she hopes to find
a teaching job within the
district where she currently
works. She and her family
have faced many obstacles
throughout the last four
years, she says, yet each trial
has made her stronger and
more determined to better
herself and her family. She
says she loves spending time
together with her family—her
husband, who is pursuing a
doctorate in leadership, and
their three young children.
“I had a horse accident in
April 2004 and it was a wake-up call for me.” Leslie
says she is grateful for each day she lives and that
she is able to walk across the commencement
stage and receive her diploma. “I am so thankful for each and every person that has helped me
reach this milestone in my life.”
Athenia Dodds
Athenia Dodds has had the desire in her heart
from an early age to be a teacher, she says,
explaining that, when she was a teenager, she
taught first- and second-grade classes at her
church along with other paraprofessional teaching
experiences. Athenia earned her bachelor’s degree
in human and family studies at the University of
Arkansas in Fayetteville. She met her husband
in Arkansas, then later relocated to St. Louis,
Missouri. She became a substitute teacher after
they moved back to Arkansas, and that experience made her decide to become an elementary
teacher, she says. Athenia adds, “I believe that I
can make an impact on the students as well as my
colleagues. I can provide the students with the
love, encouragement, skills, and resources that
“I am determined to make a difference in the
world by changing one life at a time.”
-WGU Alum, Athenia Dodds
they need to achieve their goals and to be successful.” Athenia found WGU on the internet, and
enrolled in 2008 in the Master of Arts in Teaching
Elementary (PreK-8) program. She most enjoyed
her relationship with her mentor, she says, as well
as the flexibility allowed for her to work on assignments and evaluator feedback.
Currently working as a teacher at a residential
treatment center, Athenia explains that her degree
motivates her to become an example to those she
comes into contact with and that she can make a
difference in the lives of children she teaches. In
spite of learning and personal challenges in the
past and during her time at WGU, she determined
to accomplish her goal of becoming a teacher,
noting that she has seen many students and their
parents struggle with reading. Athenia says, “I am
determined to make a difference in the world by
changing one life at a time.” She and her husband
have two young daughters and Athenia is also a
minister in her community. She says, “I believe that
everyone has a purpose in the world.”
Adam Smith
Homeschooled year-round by his mother in early
grades along with four siblings, Adam Smith
graduated from high school at age 15. Because
he couldn’t yet drive, his father transported and
attended college classes with him.
He saw the huge difference that
comes with getting a college degree
when he earned his associate’s and
was hired as an IT intern during an
economic slump. Jobs opened up for
both him and his father, a government contractor, after their graduation in July 2010. Adam already had
decided to get his master’s, he says.
He came across Western Governors
University after searching online,
and enrolled in the Master of Science in Information Security and
Assurance program in August 2010.
“I have always enjoyed learning new
concepts,” says Adam, finding the
in-depth details of forensic and ethical hacking fascinating. “I believe
the certifications I acquired at WGU
were the reason I was selected to fill my current
position,” he says. Affordability was also important
to Adam, and he says, “I am getting my money’s
worth out of the experience I have had at WGU.”
Adam’s future plans include teaching classes at a
local college and possibly pursuing his doctorate,
he says. In a word, his WGU degree means “accomplishment,” says Adam. “It is very exciting to be at
the end of a very long road looking back at all that
has transpired. Having this degree opens up a new
door of both career and educational possibilities.”
Because of the cycle of work and school, Adam
says burnout became his biggest adversary, yet he
kept getting up and pushing back. He concludes,
“It seems that with every educational advance
overtaken I have been able to move upward in
the corporate realm. Shortly before finishing my
master’s degree, I was offered a position with a
government contractor in the information
security world.”
“Shortly before finishing my master’s degree,
I was offered a position with a government
contractor in the information security world.”
-WGU Alum, Adam Smith
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Bronwyn Skyvara
Three years after earning her bachelor’s degree,
Bronwyn Skyvara decided to go back to school for
her master’s degree in business administration not
only to continue being promotable at her company,
but to show her three children the value of a
higher education. Bronwyn says she investigated
many online schools because brick-and-mortar
schools were really not an option with her fulltime job, husband, and family. She found Western
Governors University and enrolled in January 2009
in the Master of Business Administration (MBA)
program. “The flexibility to do school on my time
was of utmost importance to me,” says Bronwyn,
adding, “I do not believe there is another school
out there that could have worked as well for me.”
While working on her degree at WGU, she has
been promoted two times in less than three years
at her company, gaining new responsibilities with
each new role. For Bronwyn, her degree is a huge
accomplishment as she is the first person in her
family to earn a college or graduate degree, and
personally means, “I DID it!” she emphasizes.
Bronwyn says that she believes working toward
her MBA degree likely made her a stronger
candidate within her
company. With her most
recent promotion to
finance manager supporting seven analysts
worldwide, Bronwyn
wants to stay in this role
for awhile and learn to
be a good people manager, and says, “I feel that
completing my degree
is proof that I have the
knowledge needed to
compete in today’s environment.” Of her WGU
mentor, Bronwyn says
that he was awesome—
alternately nudging her forward, encouraging
her, cheering her on as she passed an assessment
as well as patient and understanding. “I sing the
praises of WGU to everyone that asks me about my
education experience and highly recommend the
school to all,” says Bronwyn.
Rindy Evans
Rindy Evans was the first in her family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree, and now
she is the first to graduate with an MBA. She has
wanted these degrees plus a PhD since she was
17 years old. “I don’t care if I’m 80 years old when
I get the last one,” she says, “I would like to show
others that if I can do it, so can they. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worth it.” Her accomplishments at Western Governors University began
with a phone call from her brother, who wanted
Rindy who was in education to check out WGU. Yet
it was Rindy who enrolled in July 2010 to pursue
a Master in Business Administration in Management and Strategy degree. “I decided to go at this
alone—with the support of my boyfriend, kids,
wonderful family, and friends,” she says, and adds,
“I even talked a coworker into finishing her degree
at WGU.” Rindy says she loved her mentors and the
challenges of the program.
Rindy hopes her degree will increase her earning
potential in a new job. For now, Rindy says her
degree means that she followed through with her
original plan. She continues, “It’s accomplishment,
confidence, and…being a role model to my two
boys as well as everyone my life touches.” While at
WGU, Rindy faced challenges—the BP oil spill that
sent her boyfriend to
Australia for temporary
work, the Mississippi
River threatening to
flood her parish, major
surgeries for family, a
medical scare of her
own, and raising two
boys as a single parent
while working full time
and studying late into
the night. “Life doesn’t
make you, you make
your life,” says Rindy,
“and if you get sidetracked or have to start
over, it’s okay. Perseverance is the key.”
Matthew W. Evans
After a layoff following major market downturns
at the end of 2008, Matthew Evans relocated his
wife and daughter from upstate New York back to
North Carolina, where they had formerly lived, to
cut expenses. “As I observed the diminishing market,” he says, “I saw the world change and I knew
I was going to need something to separate myself
during this and future economic climates.” Matt
asked his IT friends to develop an automated web
search based on accreditation, self-paced learning, credit for existing knowledge, and cost. “WGU
came to the top…There really is no other school
that does what WGU does,” says Matt. “From the
first point of contact, I felt the staff cared about
what was important to me,” he says, especially
the cost effectiveness. He enrolled at WGU in June
2009 to pursue a Master of Business Administration—Management and Strategy degree. Matt
enjoyed his WGU mentors, and says, “They were
actually interested in who I was, why I took on
this challenge, and how they could best support
my mission.”
Midway through his WGU program, Matt had to
undergo neck surgery, necessitating a medical
leave. Three months later, his neck brace was off
and Matt resumed work on his degree. Unfortunately, Matt then faced an unexpected request for
separation, immediately followed by the death
of his father in early 2011. Through all of this,
his mentors worked on his behalf to adjust his
enrollment date, get a one-month extension, and
help him maintain focus and motivation. “This
achievement was a long-time dream of mine and
would have been a point of great pride for my
father,” says Matt. “I’m saddened he didn’t get a
chance to see it.” Matt continues, “Earning my
MBA and certification has given me a sense of
accomplishment and confidence I hadn’t felt
with anything else.” Soon after graduating in June
2011, Matt was promoted from sales to the director of market strategies and now awaits appointment as division president. Matthew also revealed
another motivator was his desire to teach adults
on nights and weekends as a way to help and support others to accomplish their goals by leveraging his knowledge and experience. Matt says, “It’s
during our harshest struggles and darkest hours
that the light of perseverance and accomplishment are most brilliant. Personally, that makes
this the most rewarding thing I have ever done!”
“There really is no other school that does
what WGU does.”
-WGU Alum, Matt Evans
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Brenda Echols
As a registered nurse with 21 years in neonatal
nursing and eight years as a clinical instructor,
Brenda Echols says she chose an advanced
degree program to better equip herself as a hospital educator with tools to remain current with
the educational process and for self-improvement.
She found Western Governors University online.
In the fall of 2009 Brenda began the master’s
program for nursing education, but later changed
course and enrolled in the program for the Master
of Science in Nursing—Leadership and Management degree. At WGU, Brenda says, “I enjoyed the
community dialogues. The most important aspect
was the dialogue with my mentor.” In the future,
she plans to pursue her doctorate and write an
autobiography. While her organization rewards
the attainment of advanced degrees with a small
monetary incentive, Brenda says, “Achieving my
degree represents fulfillment to me.”
Brenda was born and raised in Memphis and is the
oldest of ten siblings in a single-parent household.
She acknowledges that she was from a poor, disadvantaged family and says, “I was not expected to
Karen Brown
achieve…but I made it.” She is the only one in her
biological family with an advanced degree. During
her master’s studies at WGU, Brenda faced two
other formidable obstacles—her grandson’s grave
illness and her own breast cancer diagnosis in
May 2011. Her husband of 41 years has supported
her always, Brenda says, and being a student at
WGU helped her maintain her focus during her
challenges, and adds, “My biggest challenge was
overcoming breast cancer—it almost took me out,
“Achieving my degree (at WGU) represents
fullfillment to me.”
-WGU Alum, Brenda Echols
but when I thought about it and talked it over, I decided to hold on and hold out as strong as I could. I
did it at 60 years old, and you can too, just believe,
it is never too late to believe, it is never too late
to dream.”
Karen Brown always had a dream of getting a
bachelor’s degree, she says, adding, “I wanted to
do it for ME!” With the help of a personal mentor, she searched for a school that was accredited,
with a good reputation, and had self-study. She
also followed the suggestion to look into Western
Governors University for its ease of access and its
reputation. Karen enrolled at WGU in July 2011
and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business
Management degree in four months! She enjoyed
working at her own pace at WGU, and was able to
accelerate her program in subjects in which she
had a great deal of previous knowledge and experience. Karen says, “[This degree] is the realization of a dream I have always had. It gives me
confidence in my abilities and lends credibility to
my experience.”
For 22 years, Karen worked in the healthcare division for a national Fortune 500 employer, earning
an associate’s degree in their tuition program. Her
position was cut in a buyout, and shortly afterward, she met her husband, moved to Florida, and
began a second career in nonprofit management.
In 2004 Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The diagnosis changed her
outlook on life and what is really important, she says, being
happy and seeing challenges
as opportunities. Following
successful treatment, Karen
began to volunteer for Komen
for the Cure events, sharing
stories with other cancer survivors. She and her husband
also assist with Akita Rescue
of Florida and volunteer with
their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. In February 2011 budget cuts again gave Karen an opening, “I knew that realizing this goal would put me
on the same playing field as others in my profession and I wanted the confidence I knew would
come from finally completing that degree.” Karen
continues, “I couldn’t be happier or prouder.”
“This degree is the realization of a dream I
have always had.”
-WGU Alum, Karen Brown
Not Quitting a Dream
We were best friends, fellow WGU students, who
both loved kids and had a passion to become teachers. Both of us have been in and out of college since
high school graduation years before. Life seemed to
have a way of slowing us down from fulfilling our
dreams. My dear friend Allison was a single mom
and was very devoted to her daughter. She loved
children and had that special gift that only some
people possess—she was patient, kind, and able
to play with them at their level. There was no
doubt that she would be an amazing teacher.
so much, still working towards her goal, and at the
same time encouraging me was life changing. Her
encouragement meant a lot to me, and her kind yet
firm words made me feel like it was possible. I reenrolled with WGU. With the help of a great mentor
and my dear friend Allison, I was back on track to
fulfill a dream.
We soon discovered that life would continue around
us and there would be obstacles to overcome if we
were going to finish this time. I found out I was
expecting my third child. He was very sick his first
year of life, and I was unable to do any schoolwork.
I took a term break from WGU, which turned into a
full withdrawal from the university. At that point, I
was pretty sure I would never finish.
Allison’s devotion to God, her daughter, school
work, and encouraging me was an inspiration.
Everyone around her was amazed by her undeniable strength, unbelievable faith, and her big
beautiful smile. Allison Mary Campo left this earth
on December 15, 2007, and a piece of me left with
her. When she passed, a part of me wanted to let
this dream go. How could I finish without her by
my side?
I had two kids of my own. Any chance for us to
finish our degrees and become teachers seemed
unreachable, until we found Western Governors
University, that is. We were pumped to discover
that WGU is an online, accredited university,
which would allow us to transfer our previous
credits and earn our teaching degrees from home.
I enrolled in the fall of 2005 eager to finish as fast
as possible. Allison joined me as a WGU student
not long after, and we quickly became each other’s
support system.
At the same time, Allison was having her own
struggles. She began to have some health issues.
She was also working a full-time job, raising a
seven-year-old daughter, and attending WGU as a
full-time student. She had surgery in January 2007,
and found out that she had a rare form of stage four
ovarian cancer. She began rounds of chemo treatments that made her very sick. Despite her illness,
she remained a full-time student with WGU. She
also remained the most optimistic person I have
ever met. She always had a beautiful smile on her
face, and remained positive despite her situation.
During this time, I confided in her that I wasn’t sure
if I should return to WGU. This dream seemed too
difficult to obtain, and I was just too busy to achieve
it. I wanted to focus on helping her and raising my
family. She encouraged me not to quit, and literally
insisted that I finish what we started. She said, “One
day, we will fly across the country, walk down that
aisle, and graduate together.” Seeing her go through
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I decided that I had to finish what we started and
become a teacher for both of us—no matter what
life threw my way. There have been more struggles,
but I have felt her presence encouraging me to
press on. In December 2011, after six long years, I
earned my Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies
degree from WGU, and fulfilled a lifelong dream. I
opened my degree on Christmas Day and I thought
of Allison’s smile. Her perseverance and determination…has changed my perspective about life. Very
soon, I will wear my cap and gown and walk down
that aisle, different than how we planned, but with
her smile in my heart.
About the Author: Jill Lanclos graduated from WGU
in December 2011, and plans to attend the Winter
2012 Commencement Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia,
on February 11, 2012, to celebrate her accomplishment of becoming a teacher. She lives with her family
in Franklin, Louisiana.
Graduates Receive Recognition for Capstone Excellence
The capstone is the culminating degree project where
Western Governors University students integrate all of their
program competencies. It represents our candidates’ best
work, since their projects are archived with student permission, and are available to other students, graduates, mentors,
and accreditors. The Capstone Team—consisting of facilitators, evaluators, archivists, and its manager—has wanted to
honor students and superlative work. To celebrate student
excellence on this important project, the Capstone Team
inaugurated the “Capstone Recognition Program” for graduate-level capstones in 2011, in cooperation with the offices
of Student Records and Alumni and Career Services at
WGU. Students chosen for recognition were nominated by
their Capstone Evaluator and selected by the Capstone
Facilitator in their program/college area because their
capstone projects exemplified one or more of these dimensions of excellence:
• Conquering Challenges – exerted exceptional effort, sometimes overcoming adversity
• Expressing Ingenuity – displayed creativity, originality, initiative, or resourcefulness
• Exhibiting Mastery – demonstrated higher competency, true craftsmanship, or proficiency
• Providing Synergy – created value, serving individuals, an organization, or their community
The following WGU students (now graduates) have been selected for Capstone Excellence during 2011:
Charles “Chuck” Jessell
MBA – Business
Nitrogen Operation N2O Emissions Reduction Project
Harold Willingham
MBA – Business
Reducing Pharmaceutical Costs in Healthcare Facilities
Michelle Shaw
MBA – Business
Increasing the Gender and Racial/Ethnic Diversity of the
Executive Workforce
Andy Wong
MBA – Business
New York Hospital OUTSYS Information Technology with EMR Implementation Project
Park Foreman
MS – Information Security Assurance
Addressing Persistent Threats
Pamela Hubbert
MS – Information Security Assurance
Honeypot Security Policy
Deborah Ebbert
MS – Nursing
Simulation as a Strategy to Increase Self-Confidence in
Nursing Students
Brenda Echols
MS – Nursing
The Retention of Nurses in the Critical Care Unit after Two Years and Its Effect on the Organization
Michael Murrell
MS – Nursing
Sepsis Treatment in the Emergency Department
Lindsey Amaral
Masters – Teachers College
Introduction to Basic Search and Rescue Skills
Janice Carrol
Masters – Teachers College
Nutrition and Cancer Prevention
Beth Sidwell
Masters – Teachers College
TWS: Solving Equations with Algebra
These individuals are each receiving a Capstone Excellence Certificate, and the recognition is noted
along with their nomination in the Comprehensive Capstone Archive at:
This site is accessible to students through MyWGU portal login authentication. For aspiring graduatelevel students seeking future “Capstone Excellence” recognition, please alert your Capstone Evaluator
during your capstone term of your interest and your project’s qualifications.
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