"This program is allowing me to finish what I started so long ago and what I thought I would never be able to do – finally finish school with a degree."
After working for nearly two decades, Jessica Robinson is ready to advance her career. Online classes for a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree at the University of Arkansas are giving her that opportunity.
“This program is allowing me to finish what I started so long ago and what I thought I would never be able to do – finally finish school with a degree,” Robinson, coordinator for class scheduling and student records at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, said. “I had ... no other options but to work in an office or in a customer service-based job for the rest of my life. I hate it. I hate the bias that I am viewed with for not completing a bachelor’s degree. Now, after 18 years, I am finally able to do something about it.”
Working fulltime makes taking face-to-face classes difficult, Robinson said.
“Going to face-to-face classes isn’t the best option when you work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” she said. “With online classes, I’m afforded the opportunity to work and go to school since I can take these courses at a feasible pace. I want to accomplish this massive challenge that has haunted me for 20 years.”
Robinson is one of 23 people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2020-2021 academic year. She plans to continue working for the University of Arkansas, where she hopes to find a position involving criminal justice.
“Getting this scholarship, especially during these strange times, means I have the ability to take classes during the fall and spring semesters,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for this scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to afford to take classes.”