The flexibility and affordable tuition rates were what first enticed me to apply to the Great Plains IDEA Community Development program, but finding real solutions to the issues I’m passionate about is what has made this program so rewarding! In my opinion, the best aspect of this program is the diversity among students and faculty. My peers, who live all over the country and in various places around the globe, have challenged me to develop a broader and more diverse understanding of ‘community’ and how common problems affect each unique community. I’m not just learning how to address similar issues in similar locations but am learning to be creative and adapt development methods to create solutions based on each community’s unique culture and needs.
Getting a master's degree is an opportunity I never thought I would take part in since I lost 65% of my vision in the fall of 2017. I spent over 2 years in occupational therapy to ensure that I could continue working in the transit industry that I love. The chance to attend graduate school and work towards a degree is what I needed to begin feeling “alive” again.
Starting graduate school in the middle of the pandemic, with my husband having lost his employment due to the pandemic, and with the various health issues I have regarding my vision, I found the GP IDEA experience to be what I mentally needed to motivate me not only in my career but also in my personal life. It gave me a challenge and a purpose during the dark pandemic, and this type of motivation is what I needed to feel constructive again.
Coming from a culinary background, I was unsure of how to make a career for myself until I discovered the FCS Master’s program through GP IDEA. Now that I am a full-time Family and Consumer Science teacher at a local high school, I am still able to balance my school workload with my new professional career. They work hand in hand by combining lesson plans and learning theories. I love being able to apply my school work into my own classroom; it has developed into an amazing learning experience.
The Great Plains IDEA community development program has helped me become a better leader as a park ranger for the National Park Service. The skills I have gained empower me to bring colleagues and community members together toward positive change.
I needed something flexible that would allow me to "attend" classes in the middle of the night, on the weekends, while at home with my newborn son, or whenever I could spare a minute. The Great Plains IDEA program allowed me to do just that. I was able to continue my life while advancing my career. Even before I graduated I had job offers lined up that I had only dreamed about before pursuing my master's degree in gerontology.
Great Plains IDEA has contributed immensely to my academic success. Earning my bachelor’s degree spanned seven years due to medical setbacks, but my journey in graduate school stands in stark contrast. I maintained a 4.0 GPA because I was given the opportunity to succeed despite my health conditions. The online courses allowed me to learn in a more comfortable environment without the need for special accommodations in the classroom or navigation of a campus.
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.
In addition to the flexible learning environment and knowledgeable faculty, another benefit that’s been a pleasant and unexpected surprise are the meaningful connections I have made with other students from all over the country. Not only have I had the opportunity to learn from their distinct experiences and individual perspectives related to development, but there are classmates that I now consider to be friends and have even had the privilege of meeting in person.
I've been fortunate enough to network with a diverse population of professionals with different backgrounds and learned about their roles within small and large organizations alike. This has expanded my understanding of other industries and helps me feel more confident as I move forward in my career.
The Great Plains IDEA program was a perfect fit for my schedule as it allowed me to work, travel, and learn on the go. The nature of the program fosters a flexible learning environment, and as a student, you have access to all the tools you need with any online portal. With multiple universities contributing to the course roster, there are numerous offerings that provide students with plenty of options to build their skillset.
I have loved every minute of this program! The teachers are wonderful, the coursework is challenging and engaging, and I have been able to do it while also working full time and taking care of my three children. During the day, I run a home daycare and I am able to use the techniques and ideas that I have learned in my classes to enhance the learning experience in my home. This degree program has given me the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual, as a mom, and as a teacher.