Donna Macek, BLS

UI Student Carries Flag during Pregame Ceremonies at Kinnick

Along with a group of 100 military personnel, UI student Donna Macek proudly carried the United States flag onto the football field at Kinnick stadium during the pregame ceremonies on Saturday, November 1. Macek served 10 years active duty in the United States Air Force before joining the Iowa National Guard 18 years ago. While on active duty, she worked in Logistics and Funds Management. During that time Macek also completed her Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree in Accounting from Western Iowa Technical Community College (WITCC) in Sioux City, Iowa in 1998.

Macek is currently a first semester student in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree program at the University of Iowa. The BLS degree program is an online completion degree tailored to students with community college degrees and transfer credits from other accredited institutions including the University of Iowa.

Based in Le Mars, Iowa, Macek now works full time for the Iowa Air National Guard as a budget analyst. Completing the BLS degree is the end goal according to Macek, “Full time technicians in the state of Iowa are being offered tuition assistance. I didn’t want to miss out on this great opportunity. I love school and I love learning.”

Macek’s plan is to continue in her role as budget analyst at the Guard but is hopeful that the additional degree will help her with promotions in the future.

Learning online was a new experience for Macek as it is for many students completing their degrees online. Continuing Education advisors on campus help to bridge the gap from home to campus.

“Our goal is to give our Hawkeyes who are not physically on campus the same quality of advising, assistance, and service as our on campus students receive. It’s inspiring to work with a group of such dedicated and talented students,” says Tara Lamb, an advisor with the BAS and BLS advising team in the Division of Continuing Education.

One benefit of the online degree programs is that students work at their own pace given their other life demands. Online course delivery allows students like Macek the opportunity to continue their education while meeting the demands of a busy family life. Students can complete online instructor-paced or self-paced courses.

“I’m currently taking two courses, and my instructors are amazing to work with. I’ve had some crazy work schedules recently during fiscal year end, and both instructors were so helpful. They were also understanding with the fact I haven’t been in school for many, many years. So far, I’m loving it,” says Macek.

She adds, “It doesn’t matter how old a person is. If you want an education, attempt to achieve that goal. I went back to school for my first AA degree when I was working full time, had two small children and a husband. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. Now the kids are grown and I’m going back to school again. Never give up.”

Photo credit: Darren Miller, Director of New Media