Students in Online Degree Programs Enjoy College Experience

August 25, 2022  |  by Heidi Wells, Global Campus

Priscilla Her, back row, third from left, was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International, an honor society for nurses, earlier this year. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing online.

Students who study in online degree programs delivered by the University of Arkansas are every bit Razorbacks as those who live in residence halls on the Fayetteville campus, study at Mullins Library and hang out at the Arkansas Union between classes.

Graduates of online degree programs walk at commencement and have their names etched on Senior Walk after they graduate. They are eligible for all the benefits of Arkansas Alumni Association membership. Nursing students who study in online degree programs receive a pin in a pre-graduation ceremony alongside their on-campus peers.

Students in online degree programs cheer on the Hogs in their many athletic endeavors. They are honored by academic colleges for their work, and they are invited to join honor societies. They use resources from the U of A Libraries, and they apply for and receive U of A scholarships. In many degree programs offered online, they are taught by the same faculty members who teach on campus.

Nathanael Martin-Nelson of Ada, Ohio, is enrolled in the online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree program. He is a stay-at-home dad to a 1-year-old daughter and also maintained a full-time summer internship with a local utility company, Elite. Martin-Nelson utilizes university resources, attends virtual events, and is a member of university organizations.

Photo of Ashley Acord and Nathanael Martin-Nelson
Ashley Acord and Nathanael Martin-Nelson

He has attended virtual campus activities such as thesis defenses, dissertation defenses and career fairs. He is also part of the People, Planet and Profit Project, or P4, which helps Arkansas companies get a certification for meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

"It has been very fun to be able to do that all the way from Ohio," said Martin-Nelson, who also is the recipient of a W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year. The scholarship is offered to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree online.

Ashley Acord of Springdale, Arkansas, a student in the online Master of Science in Operations Management, has won two scholarships to help her fund the online degree. She also won the Manning scholarship, and she was awarded a departmental scholarship based on academic achievement and financial need.

Acord works full time as a video producer at PAM Transportation in Tontitown. She said pursuing a graduate degree online allowed her to continue working while learning advanced concepts.


Nursing Honor Society Important to Online Student

Priscilla Her of Fayetteville graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the LPN to BSN program delivered online. A couple of weeks before the commencement ceremony, she joined 23 other nursing students, including some studying online and some studying on campus, for another special occasion, induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International honor society for nursing.

"When I received an invitation to join Sigma Theta Tau International, I did some research about it and I really liked it as a way to build connections with nurses all around the world," Her said. "This will be a valuable tool for me because my future plan is to be a missionary nurse."

Several members of Her’s family traveled from Oklahoma to attend both the Sigma Theta Tau International ceremony and spring commencement.

Her worked as a licensed practical nurse for four years after getting her LPN certification in Minnesota. She had lived in Arkansas before moving to Minnesota, and she returned in 2018, initially to Fort Smith. She was working in a family medicine clinic in Fayetteville when the pandemic hit. She volunteered to leave the clinic to work extra hours, often on weekends, at hospital-based drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinics, as well as helping out in the ICU.

Her said she chose to study online in the LPN to BSN program offered by the U of A because she wanted to keep working alongside other health-care providers during the pandemic, but she also wanted to pursue a bachelor’s degree that would lead to a registered nurse license.

"During the pandemic, I was working up to 100 hours a week and also taking 15 credit hours a semester," she said. "I was really busy trying to juggle my work schedule and homework, but it was doable because all the instructors were really willing to work with me. What really helped a lot is the instructors are very understanding. They know we are LPNs and we work. We are serving our communities, but we still want to continue our education."

Photo of Heidi Wells

Heidi Wells

Content Strategist

Heidi Wells is the content strategist for the Global Campus at the University of Arkansas and editor of The Online Learner. Her writing spans more than 30 years as a communicator at the U of A and a reporter and editor at Arkansas newspapers. Wells earned two degrees from the U of A: a master's in 2013 and a bachelor's in 1988.

Wells can be reached at or 479-575-7239.

Online Learner Blog Home


Online Degree Programs

University of Arkansas ONLINE programs are designed by academic departments on the Fayetteville campus to offer you another path to earning a degree from a top-tier public research university. Online programs give you the flexibility to balance family, work and school responsibilities. You do not have to put your life on hold while working toward a better one.

Program Page