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Degree Enables Alum’s Leap of Faith

Degree Enables Alum’s Leap of Faith

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

A ladder, a shield, a safety net – a college degree can serve a variety of purposes, a bit like a utility tool for life.

Cynthia Walker, who earned her degree in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration of Technical Studies, has utilized her degree in a multitude of ways since graduation (and even a bit before).

“My degree changed my life,” said Walker. “When the company I was working for in Nebraska downsized, I was completing my degree. That degree opened up a new career path which I would never have imagined.”

Upon the advice of several professors, Walker began pursuing jobs with the federal government. When an offer came from the Veterans Administration in Tennessee, she uprooted herself to take advantage of the opportunity.

cruise 9.21.15 5x7 300ppi“I was having difficulty finding a well-paid position. I applied for many positions and the original offer came from the position here in Tennessee,” she said. “I took it and began an entirely new journey. The people are so friendly and the winters are great!”

Walker is currently an Internal Controls Manager for the Veterans Administration in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The flexibility offered by the University is what first got Walker interested in enrolling.

“A program designed for those of us who are older and hold full-time jobs. I really liked the four terms per calendar year, the online courses, cluster classes,” she said.

Once enrolled, she found a number of professors and mentors to help motivate her including now-retired professor David Valenta and then-Dean of the College of Professional Studies John Leber.

Walker recalled how Dean Leber addressed the class on the first night by informing everyone that hard work was ahead. “I have always admired him going against the norm and creating a program for many of us to obtain our degree,” said Walker.

In addition to being promoted three times at the VA, Walker has also checked off a number of other accomplishments.

“The most amazing thing to me is I found the place I belong,” Walker said. She purchased her first home and married a veteran she met at the VA. “It is awesome where the first leap of faith can lead you.”