As a non-traditional college student in my early 50s, living and working in the Pacific Island of Guam, choosing the right program for graduate studies was very important to me. The process of selecting the right program was intentional – it had to offer a diverse student population, professors with real-life experiences, a safe space to share cultural perspectives, and a curriculum that offered classes that were aligned with students’ educational and professional goals. The Great Plains IDEA program met and exceeded all my expectations. Concepts from every course have been applied in my profession to the extent that it has aided in the expansion of our services and the population we serve. As I reflect on these successes, I attribute much of it to the genuine care of the GP IDEA professors who were as passionate about the success of each student as they were in the subjects they taught. GP IDEA was definitely the right program for me!
The Great Plains IDEA program has allowed me the flexibility to continue my education while also being a full-time extension agent and mother to twin boys. The program has given me the opportunity to interact with students and teaching professionals from various universities that I may have never met. This program has allowed me to focus not only on my education but also on my profession and family and for that, I will be forever grateful.
The online Family and Community Services Program is teaching me to observe, evaluate, and assist families using a strengths-based approach. In my previous role as alumni advisor, one of my responsibilities was speaking with parents from various backgrounds to prepare them for their scholar's graduation and matriculation. Using what I learned in Resilience in Families and Family Resource Management I was able to highlight families' assets and internal resources to help them help their scholar succeed, in addition to providing them with new information and external resources. All of my courses have contributed in some way to how I now approach my work and interact with those close to me. I am a better employee, sister, daughter, friend, and mentor because of the online Family and Community Services program!
As a career switcher, returning student with over the 10-year gap, and non-native English-speaking learner, I was worried that I couldn't complete the Initial Teacher Certification program within a couple of years. The professors are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in each subject and support students to succeed compassionately in any possible way. The master's courses are well-designed and rewarding as I can see my learning progress instantly. Thanks to Great Plains IDEA, I am starting my new career being a high school FCS teacher this fall!
The Great Plains IDEA program has granted me opportunities through online learning that would never be possible in a traditional setting. As a military family, we are required to move frequently and sometimes unexpectedly. There were times when I lived in three different states in a matter of one year. The Great Plains IDEA program allows me to receive an outstanding education regardless of my home state. I have access to classes and universities throughout the United States to provide a comprehensive array of knowledge in my field. The Great Plains IDEA program has proven to be an excellent fit for myself and for my family.
Having an integrated financial strategy for families has become increasingly important for families to stabilize their finances, especially during the pandemic. Acquiring professional knowledge on how to well manage family wealth has motivated me to pursue a master’s degree program in family financial planning and become a professional financial planner. The Great Plains IDEA program offers me a great path to this academic field and to gain the skills to help people protect financial resources.
It is incredibly refreshing to see major universities working together in order to offer such high-quality degree programs and experiences for their students all while keeping tuition rates affordable. I had a roughly 10-year gap between finishing my bachelor’s degree and starting my master’s program. I have found all of the faculty at the different universities extremely welcoming and encouraging, which has made my return to school so much smoother.
I have worked in the nonprofit arena for many years. The idea of returning to school for my master’s degree was daunting, especially given my typical work schedule of long and varied hours. However, knowing that I could earn my master’s degree in Community Development through Great Plains IDEA and that it would fit around my work and personal needs put me at ease. Multiple times throughout my coursework I have learned a theory, process, or skill one evening, gone to work the next morning, and applied what I learned the night before in my job.
I was looking for the education I needed to take the next step in my career to a program director or executive director. I spent a lot of time searching for a university and degree that matched my education in community organizing and advocacy and aligned with my interest in families and community services and supports. Finding GP IDEA and reading about the courses and career tracks of those who earned the MA in Family & Community Services, I knew right away that this was the degree and program for me. It has lived up to all I had hoped!
As a single mother who works full-time and is raising a son with Autism, and is a member of the sandwich generation taking care of family elders, everything about this program from the courses, schedules, available resources, support of peers and professors have made this the best possible learning experience I could have asked for.
As a full-time high school Ag teacher, FFA Advisor, and two-sport coach, I excelled in the flexibility and structure of the Great Plains IDEA program. This program has allowed me to balance my school workload with my profession and responsibilities at the school. I have also benefited from the ability to apply what I am learning to my classroom and have shared my teaching experiences with classmates to create an integrated, immersive learning experience for others and myself.
Great Plains IDEA has so many benefits for its students. The ability to continue my education while working full-time and growing my family has been a huge benefit for me. Earning the Student Excellence Award will greatly benefit my family as we begin our lives with our new daughter because we can use it to pay for the rest of my tuition and will not have to budget in finishing my degree.
In addition to professional development and advancement, this program challenges and promotes my personal growth as I gain skills and understanding applicable to my own life and relationships. I look forward to using the lessons from each class in every segment of my life.