Student Story

Tressyn Gehl

Orleans, IN

Tressyn Gehl

"I was so happy that I was awarded a scholarship. Every penny just makes it more affordable for me to continue toward my degree. I aspire to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, and this will help me get my bachelor’s degree so I can keep on going."


More Success Stories

Twenty-five students studying online at the University of Arkansas received the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. Below is an interview in question-and-answer format with one of the winners of the scholarship that describes the daily life of a student studying online, as well as providing information on how to be successful. This interview is one of a series focusing on knowledge you can use to advance your education and your career, too.

Q: Please give us some background information: where you live, your occupation and primary job duties, family.

A: I am from Orleans, Indiana. I am an LPN and I have been employed for 11 years in a busy family practice office. I have 4 kids, ages 20, 16, 12 and 8 and have been married for 17 years.

Q: How do you feel about receiving the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship Award? How will receiving it help you achieve your educational and professional goals?

A: I was so happy that I was awarded a scholarship. Every penny just makes it more affordable for me to continue toward my degree. I aspire to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, and this will help me get my bachelor’s degree so I can keep on going.

Q: What is your degree and when will it be awarded?

A: I am in the LPN to BSN program  and will be graduating in the fall of 2024.

Q: What are your plans after you receive your degree?

A: I plan to enroll in a master's degree program in nursing.

Q: Where do you foresee your career going in the future?

A: I plan to be a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Q: What inspired you to pursue an undergraduate degree?

A: I have been putting it off for years, due to family obligations, and once I found a program that allowed me to work and go to school, I was able to start working toward my goals.

Q: How long have you worked as a nurse and what is your current level of licensure? Are there any particular specialty fields that interest you?

A: I have been an LPN since 1998. I have worked in a variety of areas, including women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine and nephrology, but I always have loved pediatrics.

Q: Your profession has manned the front lines in the struggles against COVID from the earliest days of the pandemic. How has the pandemic affected your career and your education?

A: It affected my career in the sense that our office was closed for a short period, and we saw patients virtually, which has good and bad aspects. Our elderly population put off coming in for any reason, which is not always a good thing. My education was not really impacted since I was going to school virtually anyway.

Q: How did you learn about our program?

A: I found it while doing an online search for LPN to BSN programs.

Q: What made you decide to choose an online rather than in-person degree program?

A: I have to work full time and going to school in person just isn’t an option for me.

Q: How does studying online work with your professional life and family needs?

A: It makes you be aware of due dates and you have to be motivated to do the work. I have to have a calendar at work and at home so that I can stay on top of things. I take my books to my kids’ games and read while riding in the car.

Q: What was it like to meet with your adviser? How did that work?

A: We met virtually and she is great. She was very helpful and worked with me when I had to change my schedule suddenly due to issues that came up.

Q: Did you transfer any previous course credits to the U of A? If so, what was the experience like? How did you know which classes would transfer and how to complete the process?

A: I transferred several classes from previous years. It was not difficult at all. I was able to call the office and someone was always able to answer any questions. Most of the information needed to transfer classes is listed on the nursing pages of the school’s website.

Q: Do you want to share information about how you funded your education in addition to this scholarship?

A: I have paid for some of it myself, and my job also offers tuition reimbursement. I was also awarded two other scholarships last school year as well.

Q: What is it like to be an online student on a daily basis?

A: It is a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights studying.

Q: What university resources and supports have you used (i.e., library, Writing Studio, tutoring, supplemental instruction, student activities and clubs, virtual events)? How did you access those services? Did you find them helpful?

A: I have used the library and the writing studio. They are both easy to use and you can find them right in UAConnect and UASuccess.

Q: What strategies and tools do you use to stay in touch with your professors and classmates? Do you use any non-university tools to communicate with your peers like social media or apps?

A: I email my instructors for the most part. Several of them have offered for me to text and call, but I try to avoid that if I can. I have done Zooms and also Collaborate sessions. I don’t contact anyone outside of my instructors.

Q: Would you recommend this degree program?

A: I would definitely recommend this program.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who might be considering studying online?

A: You have to make the time and treat it like a job. Dedicate time to study and plan ahead.