It was a promise made to her father that started Nancy Lund down the path to a Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) degree. Lund, who was 51 years old at the time she started her degree, had never attended college before pursuing her BAS.
“My dad died suddenly in May 2011 and I’d always promised him that I’d get a bachelor’s degree,” says Lund. “His death made me realize just how short life can be, so I set out to keep the promise I’d made to him so many years ago.”
Lund first completed her associate’s degree at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), graduating with her youngest son in 2014. She spent a semester at UW-Oshkosh online before finding the BAS program at the University of Iowa.
“Taking online course work was a challenge at first, but I quickly grew accustomed to posting on discussion boards and interacting with my classmates online.” According to Lund it was also reassuring to discover just how many individuals were going back to finish degrees begun before life interceded.
Taking course work online allowed Lund to carry anywhere from six to nine credits per semester, while working fulltime as a case manager at the Mason City Child Support Recovery Unit, a division of the Department of Human Services (DHS). In this position, she is responsible for intergovernmental enforcement of child support where one parent lives in another state or country other than Iowa. This includes interpreting child support orders, performing balance calculations, and attempting to locate noncustodial parents and their assets. It’s a demanding position with a caseload that averages 1000 cases at a time. Having a bachelor’s degree will now allow Lund to apply for the many positions within DHS that require a bachelor’s degree.
Perhaps the greatest joy comes from knowing it’s never too late to keep a promise.
“I have never been so proud of myself as when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma,” says Lund. “Knowing that my mom was in the audience along with my children made the moment special and although my dad wasn’t in the audience, I know he was watching as well.”