Leesa Fair, BAS

Leesa Fair had a goal to achieve by her 50th birthday—to walk across the stage and receive a Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) degree from the University of Iowa. "The main reason I did this was simply to prove to myself I could," states Leesa.

She wasn't alone. Leesa and her son, Benjamin both started at the University of Iowa at the same time, and both graduated together in December 2012. Ben graduated with a BA in Computer Science.

"I earned Medical Assistant Certification in 1982 from Kirkwood Community College. In 2006, I contacted Kirkwood Community College to inquire about completing my Associate degree. They told me what I needed to do to finish and upon completion, my advisor from Kirkwood suggested the online BAS program at Iowa. I was very interested and decided to forge ahead."

Leesa enjoyed the whole program. "I loved learning online," says Leesa. "I could work around my schedule and find the times that worked best for me to do the class work. Online classes are almost like being in a class room with discussion postings or the live chats. I took a class called Sexuality for the Helping Professions and was actually glad I wasn't in a classroom with others."

"Not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone," was also the advice Leesa would give to others who are considering completion of a bachelor's degree at a distance. "When signing up for classes, take some you might normally not think about. I took a few religion classes and found them to be very enlightening."

In her current position as a histology technician at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, Leesa examines tissue that surgeons remove for biopsy during surgery. She performs several processes including staining the tissue so it is ready for the pathologist to view through a microscope and determine if abnormalities such as cancer or disease exist. Leesa enjoys her VA position, but realized through her education that she has developed a great desire to work with people in the Human Relations field.

"I want to be able to talk with people and help them figure out what it is they are seeking. One example of what I might want to do would be an educational advisor. I'd like to work with students to help them figure out what type of classes they might be interested in, and help them to start on the right path toward their desired career. I have also looked into the Human Resource options available and am interested in that field as well."

While she is keeping her eye open for that perfect job, Leesa is enjoying her time with family and for the first time in six years, she is not doing homework! "In the past many of the jobs I was interested in required a four year degree; I am so excited to add that accomplishment to my resume."