There are times in a person’s life that they have the opportunity to make a big difference for themself and those around them–commitments and decisions that are made because it might get you closer to your goals. This is a story about one of those times.
A few years ago, Kimberly Lane, in her early 20’s, was working full-time as a nanny in upstate New York. While she enjoyed her job, she felt directionless professionally.
It so happened that Kimberly had a degree in biology and she soon made a decision to put that degree to good use. She applied and was subsequently hired at a local healthcare facility to work “behind the scenes” helping doctors determine the causes of pain and illness in patients.
It was an excellent career move; however, growth in this field required that Kimberly gain additional training beyond her bachelor’s degree. A mentor recommended she explore SUNY Broome’s Clinical Laboratory Technician online program.
“I was a bit apprehensive at first because I knew online classes require that you motivate yourself,” said Kimberly.
As if working 40 hours a week and taking a full class load wasn’t demanding enough, two weeks into the program, Kimberly was thrown another challenge: she discovered she was 8 weeks pregnant. After meeting with the Department Chair and discussing both the challenges and opportunities of online learning, she decided to continue to pursue her degree.
And to this day, Kimberly is glad she took on the challenge.
“The online program was perfect for someone in my situation, and they worked very hard with me to make sure I stuck to it and finished.”
Now 26 and a proud mother, Kimberly works as a laboratory technologist at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. Every day, she puts her education to work by running tests on patient samples which helps doctors diagnose aliments and discover how their patients’ bodies are functioning.
Kimberly’s move to online education is not unique; nationally, 30% of higher education students in the U.S. enrolled in at least one online course while 38% of students that enrolled in college were over the age of 25. In fact, over 85,000 students have enrolled in an online course at a SUNY campus.
Beginning with single online courses in 1994, SUNY has been at the forefront of online education for 20 years with the development of SUNY Learning Network (SLN). Our SUNY campuses have nearly 400 online-enabled and over 150 fully online degrees, 7 of which are nationally ranked. With the launch of Open SUNY in January 2014 and its Open SUNY+ programs, students have access to a new kind of student experience.
“After this experience, I will always choose online [education] if possible,” says Kimberly. “I think there are so many benefits.”
One decision–and a lifetime of change.
Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.