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Adult Learner Makes Educational Dreams Come True at BU

Support Played a Key Role in Journey From Community College to Graduate School

For most of her adult life, Katie Maguire stayed home with her little ones, but she always dreamed of pursuing a college education.

“In fact, I started and stopped college several times,” she said. “I was always enrolled in traditional college programs. These programs had very rigid schedules and minimal flexibility. As a stay-at-home mom by day with four small children and then working nights to make ends meet, there was no way I could complete these traditional programs.”

Once her youngest child started kindergarten, though, Maguire could finally commit fully to her dreams. She began her studies at Southeast Community College, where she earned an associate degree in long term care administration. Yet when she started to apply for jobs, she realized she was competing against applicants with bachelor’s degrees, so Maguire decided to continue her own education.

Bellevue University had a small office within the community college she attended, so one day, she met with a recruiter.

“I was excited to find out that a bachelor’s degree would only take me an additional two years, so I started right away,” she said.

Maguire enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Management program and grew to love Bellevue University almost instantly.

“Everyone at Bellevue is so supportive,” she said. “I was able to complete my courses around my home and work responsibilities, and I felt so encouraged and supported by the faculty and staff.”

Once she graduated with her bachelor’s degree, Maguire decided to open additional doors for herself and began the Master of Business Administration program.

“With my education, I could now find better paying jobs,” Maguire said.

She spent time in the aviation industry, beginning as a supervisor for an airline and then taking an administrative role at the airport. Later, Maguire was hired to be an accountant for the State of Nebraska by the Aeronautics Division.

“All of these types of jobs were something I had only dreamed about having just a few short years ago,” she said. “At that time, however, they seemed so far out of reach. Now, anything was possible.”

“Everyone at Bellevue is so supportive. I was able to complete my courses around my home and work responsibilities, and I felt so encouraged and supported by the faculty and staff.

Dr. Katie Maguire, Bellevue University Graduate

Furthering her education and skillset, Maguire also enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration program at Bellevue University.

“I enjoyed the coursework, but what I absolutely loved was completing my research, which focused on workplace inclusion for people with autism spectrum disorder,” she shared. “As the mother of a child on the spectrum, this was something I had always been concerned about for my child.”

Maguire worked with a local program and examined what accommodations they had implemented that successfully assisted individuals on the spectrum with gaining and retaining lasting employment. Accommodations and ideas examined could easily be implemented in businesses everywhere — creating inclusive environments where everyone succeeds.

Even though Maguire has completed her doctoral studies, she plans to continue this research.

“I hope to present at conferences and even work with businesses to implement individual organizational inclusion programs,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to make meaningful contributions in any way I can indefinitely for organizations and individuals alike.”

Since receiving her doctorate, Maguire has also been teaching — a role that enables her to inspire other students like her.

“Finally achieving my educational dreams inspired me to help others do the same, and I absolutely love doing so,” she said. “As such, I have recently accepted a position teaching full-time as a faculty instructor in the business department of a local college. I am excited to continue supporting students as they grow and begin careers of their own.”

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