As a wife, mother, business owner and substitute teacher, Kate Grizzell was looking for a degree program that offered the flexibility and support for her busy schedule.  The University of Iowa's online Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) fit the bill.  

Grizzell began work on her associate’s degree from Kirkwood Community College after her daughter started kindergarten, but the demands of an online pen business meant she had to put her degree on hold one semester shy of graduating.  Grizzell kept the family business going while her husband maintained his position at Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids.  The business took off which allowed Grizzell and her family to move to Florida to be closer to family. 

Once the business was established, Grizzell again thought about completing her undergraduate degree. She ran into roadblocks when it came to transferring credit.  The University of Iowa accepted her associate degree from Kirkwood Community College in total, as well as her Mount Mercy University credits allowing her to fast track completion on her Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) in one year. 

Meanwhile, Grizzell started working as a long-term substitute high school mathematics teacher near her Florida home. While Grizzell loved learning at a distance, teaching full-time while taking a full-time course load was challenging. 

The ability to work on course work from home kept Grizzell on track.  ‘Without the due dates and requirements, it would have been easy to procrastinate,” says Grizzell.  She adds, “I didn’t need to go to class at a certain time.  I could watch lecture videos at a time convenient for me.”  

Instructor support was critical to Grizzell’s success.  "Instructors were quick to respond and ready to assist whenever I needed,” she says. “When hurricane Irma hit us, our power was out for over a week and all my instructors were so supportive.   They provided extra time to allow me to catch up afterwards.”

Grizzell had always dreamed of being a teacher and in Florida it’s possible to teach with a bachelor’s degree in any subject. 

“I took several teaching courses so that I would boost my knowledge; it has been 10 years since I’d taken my original educational course work to be a teacher," says Grizzell.  “The course, Teaching Adolescent Literature helped me see teen readers in a whole new light.  I know I’m a far better teacher with my reading expectations and understanding moving forward.”

Just last week, Grizzell was offered a permanent position teaching American History and Advanced Placement Government, which was exactly what she wanted. 

“I’m proud to say I completed my degree, and even made the Dean’s list,” notes Grizzell.  “Best of all I love being in the classroom so much. I have no regrets because everything worked out in the end.”