There is no wrong time to go back to school. On this episode of Online Stripes, meet the mom who pulled triple duty to get her master’s.

Do you want to go back to school, but think it’s too late, or you have too many responsibilities? You're certainly not alone. In fact, you’re in great company. Many of our online students are working professionals and parents looking to advance their careers.                

That was Stephanie Gilliam — who's actually pulling triple duty. She’s a full-time veterinary nurse and an adjunct clinical instructor at the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center, and she’s a mom of two. And on top of that — she just graduated from Mizzou with an online master’s degree in biomedical sciences. So why did she go back to school?

“When you choose a career in health care, no matter if it’s human or veterinary-related, you have to dedicate yourself to continually learning. The profession is always changing. There's always new things coming out and I have to be my best self for my patients and my clients and my students.” 

But Stephanie says she was only able to pursue her dream of getting her master’s degree because the program is online.

And now that she graduated... She has a message for her kids.

“I want them to know that you can do whatever you set your mind to.”

So what are you waiting for? Mizzou’s online programs are flexible for busy students with full-time responsibilities at work and at home. If you have a career goal, we want to help you get there.

“A mentor actually said to me just a few weeks ago, ‘Steph, you have grit.’ And I think grit is really what it takes. If you're a hard worker and you dedicate yourself, you can accomplish this goal.” 

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers.


Hear more from Stephanie

Are you interested in getting a degree, but concerned about how you can do it if you’re traveling or on the road? On this episode of Online Stripes, hear from two students  — Emily Tobias who travels, and Ben Coe, who’s in the military— and how Mizzou Online has been there for them — wherever they may be in the world.

Are you currently working a full-time job? Have late night or early morning shifts? Or maybe traveling for work? One of the wonderful things about getting your degree at Mizzou online is that it allows you the flexibility you need while working wherever you are in the world — even if you’re constantly on the move. 

Ben Coe is a captain in the Air Force Reserve. He serves in the 932nd medical squadron as an emergency room nurse there as well. He first came to Mizzou years ago as a freshman, wanting to be a doctor.

Coe: "I wanted to go to med school and have my MD and I started working in this ER and I saw the interactions between doctors and patients and I saw the interactions between nurses and patients and I just knew. I'm like, if I go into medicine that's the route I want to take."

Not only does Ben love patient care — but he also loves to teach— so he made the decision to go back to school to get a teaching degree.

Coe: "I definitely want to move into academia and not only still be able to pick up shifts as a bedside nurse but I really want to be able to teach and be able to bring about our next generation of nurses and get more nurses out here to the bedside."

Ben found that an online program fit in with his busy schedule as an overnight nurse.

Coe: "If I was in a traditional sit-down class program, I wouldn't be able to do that but if I can log in at any time that's comfortable for me and do my work... It's been a nice realization."

But because Ben is in the military, there is the possibility that he will suddenly be called to duty — and need to travel, on a moment's notice, to another part of the world. 

Coe: "I'm not always going to be here. There's always that potential that I could be deployed and it's one of the great things about this online program, anywhere I've got an internet connection, I've got class. It's been great having the ability to take school with me wherever I go."

Learn more about Mizzou's online nursing degrees and certificates.

Emily Tobias also decided to go back to school after a few years of nursing experience to study for her doctorate — and turned to Mizzou.     

Tobias: "Definitely, the number one strength of the DNP program is the flexibility. A year into the DNP program, I made a big life decision to become a travel nurse. So I was nervous about continuing my degree at Mizzou while traveling to different states in the country."

But no worries. While Emily traveled to Alaska, California, and Washington, she was still able to continue working towards her degree. 

Tobias: "I took less classes sometimes but, the point was, I was able to continue working on it and, if I hadn't been able to do that, I'm not sure that I would have continued in the program, so it allowed me to continue with my life while continuing my degree."

Although Ben and Emily are both interested in different nursing specialties, they have one thing in common — they both are thankful to the Sinclair School of Nursing for helping to advance their careers — and have the comfort of knowing that wherever they are in the world, Mizzou Online will be there, too.

Tobias: "My advice to a prospective student would be to go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Nursing is growing and they need us, our work, so it's important."

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers.


Hear more from Emily & Ben

Thinking of furthering your career? On this episode of Online Stripes, we hear from four of our graduates — Jennifer Krtek, Brooklyn Kolbe, Ashley Shaw and Callie Rinehart — and hear what attracted them to getting their degrees online at Mizzou.

Compassion. Dedication. Commitment. Caring. That’s nursing. And today, more than ever, there’s a huge demand for quality, high-skilled nurses all over the country – and around the globe. At Mizzou, we attract students from all over the world who want to further their nursing careers and make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Learn more about Mizzou's online nursing degrees and certificates.

For most, nursing is a calling, not a job. Our nursing students — whether they’re working towards their bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or certificate — each have their own personal story of what led them to Mizzou.

Jennifer Krtek, who has been a nurse for 14 years, earned her BSN degree through the RN to BSN program at Mizzou, while taking care of a family and holding down a full-time job.

Krtek: "Mizzou's a prestigious university. It's well-known throughout the country and, I think, all over the world really actually and so I felt like it was important to show people that I was going to the best of the best. I was able to learn more about research and the new things that were coming out and they took things that I maybe hadn’t been exposed to and they added that to what I already knew."

Brooklyn Kolbe received her doctorate from Mizzou — online.

Kolbe: "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to go to MU. MU was important to me. It is prestigious, well-known in the field of nursing. One of the biggest strengths of the program at MU is the faculty. Right from the go, they treat you as a colleague, because that's honestly how they see you. You know, I'm a single mom. I have kids at home. I mean, the online non-traditional student was the way to go for me."

Ashley Shaw graduated with a PhD in nursing. She also received both her undergraduate degree in exercise science at Mizzou, as well as her master’s in public health. 

Shaw: "The program offered is more of an interdisciplinary program and I was really interested in women's health, intimate partner violence particularly, and I thought it would be a really good fit so I could continue as a researcher and educator. Actually, I love the flexibility in the program so I didn't necessarily have to be here. The faculty were really supportive. If I needed anything, they're always a Skype call away." 

Callie Rinehart loved working in patient care, but as she got older she wanted to concentrate on administrative leadership, so turned to Mizzou to get her master’s in leadership in nursing and health care systems.

Rinehart: "Reading about the actual leadership program and the qualities that you would come out with after you were finished with the program was very, it meant a lot to me. Their motto is just…enriching. I don’t feel like all programs have that type of enthusiasm that they take to building their nurses and making them great when they come out."

So if you’re thinking about continuing YOUR education in nursing or another field of study at Mizzou, Jennifer Krtek has some good advice!

Krtek: "I would absolutely say jump in and do it." 

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers.  


Hear more from Jennifer, Brooklyn, Ashley and Callie

Are you wondering what the next chapter in your life looks like? In this episode of Online Stripes, you’ll meet a graduate who was able to take the next step in her career while serving our country, thanks to Mizzou Online.

Many of us can relate to the feeling of, “what’s next?” What’s the next step in your career? Or the next step after graduating?

Major Christine Harris has been there. She’s in the Army, working as a nursing director for the Department of Family Medicine at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. After serving for 19 years, she was worried that her skills wouldn’t translate outside of the Army. So that’s why she turned to Mizzou Online.

“I was at the point in my career where I had to make a decision. If I stayed in the army, what does it look like? And if I transition from the army, what do I do? And so that’s what I was hoping to learn. How do I transition and get a better understanding of civilian health care and be able to work in that environment and be competent at it.”

Through Mizzou’s flexible program and online course work, Christine graduated from the Sinclair School of Nursing with her doctorate in nursing leadership and innovations in health care. All while serving our country. Pretty impressive, right? Mizzou Online gave her the tools and confidence to tackle her next chapter.

“That’s what this degree actually did for me. It helped me to get out of my comfort zone.”

Mizzou Online wants to help you, too. If you’re in the military like Christine, or if you have family who is we have extra support to make the process a little easier. In fact, we have an entire Student Veterans Resource and Support Center to walk you through VA benefits, admissions, and scholarships. Just go to veterans.missouri.edu. 

You’ll quickly learn that the sky’s the limit with fellow students and faculty by your side.

“Thank you, Dr. Harris. She sat me in her office when I came to immersion the first time and she said, ‘Christine, when you finish with this degree, people are going to ask you to come on board with their organization. Don’t just go with anyone. You’re going to know your worth at the end of this degree.”

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers.


Hear more from Christine

IT student Matt Sadler with his son. Sadler is among a growing number of adults looking for a career change and turning to IT through Mizzou’s online program.

This story originally appeared on the MU Engineering website.

Adults looking for a career change are turning to an Information Technology degree from Mizzou Engineering.

It’s little wonder. Technology-related jobs are growing at a faster-than-average rate over the next decade, and IT salaries are also above average. Although COVID-19 is having an economic impact on all sectors, more people are relying on technology to work, shop and connect with loved ones—requiring skilled professionals to keep digital platforms up and running.

Meet two adults returning to college to take advantage of these trends. They’ve taken different paths to Mizzou’s online IT program, but both agree they’re getting the skills needed to compete in an evolving professional landscape.

Matt Sadler worked in the lucrative oil business before deciding to use his GI Bill to go back to school and pursue software development.

Kim Murphy has worked in computing for more than 30 years. She returned to college this past semester to learn the tools and skills that weren’t available when she graduated with a computer engineering degree in the 1980s.

Matt Sadler

Matt Sadler

Matt Sadler attended college right after high school but decided it wasn’t for him. He took a job in the oil business before joining the Army. When he got out, Sadler returned to his previous profession equipped with educational benefits from the military.

“I had access to a free education just sitting there,” he said. “So I decided to pursue what I really wanted to go into, and that was software development.”

Sadler started at Penn State and transferred to Mizzou after seeing the coursework offered here.

“The Mizzou curriculum had a lot more as far as software development, and that was a big seller to me” he said.

Classes have been challenging but rewarding, Sadler said. He attends school full-time but also balances his studies and his role as a father of two small children.

“It’s handy with it being online; I can go and do it at any time,” he said. “It’s required a lot of me, but it’s taken my skills to the next level, and that’s encouraging. I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my skills, and that makes me feel marketable to employers.”

And that’s why he recommends the program to others looking for a career switch to IT.

“Prepare to be challenged, but know that that’s a benefit,” he said. “You’re going to really gain knowledge applicable to your industry. And you’ll be confident at job interviews telling employers you have the knowledge that they’re seeking.”

Kim Murphy

Kim Murphy

Murphy earned a computer engineering degree from the University of Illinois and has enjoyed a long career in the business application, development and project management side of information technology.

For much of her career, she said she could keep up with technological advances.

“But the technology has moved so beyond what it was when I graduated, I just felt like I needed to know more about what people are doing today,” she said.

Murphy worked with advisors at Mizzou Online to transfer the credits she had already earned so that she could focus solely on the courses she wants to take. She’s taking one course per semester, which allows her to continue to work as a part-time project manager.

The skills she’s learned in her first class, digital media design, are new to her, though she admits the tools would have come in handy over the course of her career. That’s one benefit of returning to college as an adult, she said: she understands how the coursework relates to real-world scenarios.

“I know how the subject applies back to the industry,” Murphy said. “And I’ve learned tons. It’s fun and interesting to learn new technology.”

In addition to learning contemporary best practices, Murphy says she’s also learned more about herself.

“I have learned that I can do it,” she said. “I was nervous about being able to do it—would I be able to keep up? Yes, you can. I can. That’s what I learned, and it’s very encouraging.”

Murphy, who has a son and two nieces in college, says both traditional college students and adults returning to school should take a look at Mizzou’s IT program.

“What you’re going to be taking are courses that are important today and will be for the next 10 years,” she said. “These days, there are so many choices in IT. There are plenty of courses for you to specialize in. I would totally recommend this.”

Read more about earning an IT degree online.

We’re tremendously proud of our graduates from all over the world – and all they’ve achieved. On this episode of Online Stripes, meet one of them — Dr. Katie Murray, a Urologic Oncologist, who since graduating from Mizzou has gone on to accomplish great things.

At Mizzou, we’re tremendously proud of our graduates from all over the world — and all they’ve gone on to achieve after they received their degrees. Whatever their course of study, whatever their aspirations, we love hearing about their personal career victories, even years after leaving Mizzou. Among our thousands of success stories is Dr. Katie Murray. Not only is she now a female urologist in a specialty dominated by men, but she also is the only urologist in the country with a master of science degree in academic medicine from Mizzou, which she earned online.     

"It is an excellent program with a wide range of courses. You can do a real focus on the research side of things and learn about grant writing and manuscript writing and publications — or you can really focus in on the educational aspect — or you can do a combination of both. That's what I did because I wanted to enhance both of those skills for me." 

After medical school and a urology residency, Dr. Murray became the first and only doctor of osteopathic medicine to be accepted into the world-renowned urological oncology 2-year fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Today she is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, as well as medical director of the Department of Urological Oncology at MU’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. She attributes much of her success to her time studying at Mizzou.

"I practice as a Urologic Oncologist but I do have a big focus on research and also have roles in mentoring and teaching students and residents— so the academic medicine program was perfect for me."

Dr. Murray now uses the mentoring skills she learned at Mizzou to advise and counsel many female medical students as they enter a male-dominated field, just as she did. She also attributes Mizzou with enhancing her writing capabilities, which are so important in her work.

"Throughout two semesters, I worked on writing a grant that I was actually able to submit and had some great results with that."

And now, every day, Dr. Murray uses the knowledge she acquired at Mizzou, in both the operating room and clinic, to benefit those who are most important in her work — her patients.

"I have lots of research questions, and questions that I want to answer that are directly related to my clinical practice. Based on, you know, the posts and the assignments that I had through class, I was able to, you know, focus in on these questions to make them much more feasible to be completed, and improve the lives of my patients ultimately."

We celebrate Dr. Katie Murray — and all our graduates, who over the years have moved on to great careers. We salute each and every one of them who have earned their online stripes — reached their goals — and achieved their dreams.

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers. 


Hear more from Katie

Graduate JoDee Kenney is proving that you’re never too busy to get your degree. In this episode of Online Stripes, you’ll hear what a Mizzou program did for her career while still working and raising a family.

Do you think you’re too busy to go back to school? JoDee Kenney might make you think again.

She’s been a journalist for over 25 years — reporting the news all while raising a family. But at the same time, she was able to graduate with her master’s in journalism, specializing in interactive media. What made her want to fill her plate just a little bit more?

“The business has changed significantly since I've gotten into journalism. I mean, we used to have reporter/photographer teams with a big crew that would go out with you and we'd tape on these big tapes and, now, a lot of the work is being done online. I wanted to make sure that I was still relevant, that I still had the skills, where I can step into a newsroom and say, ‘I'm an expert at something.’ And, so for me, interactive media was a no-brainer.”

So how did she do it all? With online course work. So JoDee could work and take care of her family, while still learning new skills that she can apply to her job.

“Well, what I love about this program is it helped me to think critically, in a different way than I had prior to coming back to academia. So what I love about this is I'm going to walk away with skills that help me look at maybe a topic or a story that I'm covering in multiple directions.”

Now with her degree...

She has the knowledge that she needs to evolve and succeed in the ever-changing world of journalism.

But whether you’re considering this program or any of our others, JoDee has this to say… 

“Mizzou was the choice. It was the choice. Really, I looked at a lot of colleges, but this program was so wonderful and flexible and yet top-notch at the same time.”

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers. 


Hear more from JoDee

Some students are immediately giving their careers an upgrade after graduating from an online Mizzou program. On this episode of Online Stripes, you’ll meet the students and we’ll share what they’re studying that’s making them stand out amongst the crowd.

Is your career at a standstill? You can get your degree online at Mizzou in a field that’ll open up new doors for your career.

That’s what’s happening to graduates of the data science and analytics program. With our online master’s degree and graduate certificate, big opportunities have come their way.

Renee Henderson graduated with her master's. She says, “I know there are probably a lot of people like me that are looking into this program and thinking, can I do it? I would say the faculty made this really accessible to us.”

So what happened after she got her degree? Renee says, “Upon graduation, the DSA program allowed me to easily transition into a full-time role at the University of Missouri in enrollment research. I was immediately able to jump in and provide support to the growth of the institution.”

If you’re wondering how these students are getting such an advantage after graduation, student Jacky Zhao says, “There is the Industry Advisory board composed of CTOs, VPs, and other executives at top data-driven companies. They tell us what they value most and our faculty teach us to satisfy industry needs.”

Our program can give you real-world experience so you can solve industry, academic, business, and decision-making challenges. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to apply this knowledge to your career — no matter what that is.

Eileen Joyce has been in journalism for 18 years. She decided to get her master’s in data science and analytics because she says, “There is an abundance of data and no one knows what to do with it. I’m learning how to handle these big data sets and sort them out. She says, the 'knowledge of data is widely applicable across a bunch of industries.'”

That means you’re not just taking on big data. You’re taking on big companies and building their value. 

Mizzou Online wants to help you elevate your career, regardless of what you want to study. Pick from more than 150 online degree and certificate options. We’ll be there from enrollment to commencement and beyond.

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers.

Did you know there’s a program where you can learn from faculty all over the country, including Mizzou? On this episode of Online Stripes, find out about the Great Plains IDEA program, and meet Penny Kittle who received her degree through this unique online partnership.

By now, you probably know that as a student at Mizzou Online you get to interact with students from all over the world — but did you know that there’s a program where you can also learn from faculty from all over the country? That’s right. It’s called the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance — or as we call it: the Great Plains IDEA.

How does it work? Students apply and are admitted to Mizzou, which becomes their home university. Then online courses are taught by the best faculty—in the discipline of your choice—from several of our 19 member universities. All 100% online. All semester based and designed so you can learn on your own time.

Penny Kittle, who lives in Novinger, Missouri, was working full-time for the 4-H program when she decided to get her master’s in youth development at Mizzou.

"I've always been a fan of Mizzou but more importantly for me, the youth development program and the opportunity to do it online were the determining factors."

Penny received that degree through the Great Plains IDEA program.

"Through the Great Plains IDEA, all of your courses are taken online. However, they vary from university. I took classes through Texas, Michigan, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas. It just depends on where the teachers from that's teaching with that program, so you get the opportunity to meet people from across the world."

That connection with her peers, from divergent environments and backgrounds, opened Penny’s eyes to many new ways of thinking.

"I think the most interesting part about working with people from different countries was the different perspectives they came with. We all have different struggles and different challenges and so it was a great opportunity to discuss those challenges and maybe share some ideas on how to overcome some of those unique challenges."

The program is not only accessible — but affordable, too. Regardless of your degree program or course, whether in-state or out-of-state, students pay the Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour for courses at all universities. Plus – no worries about transferring credits.

And when you complete your studies, your degree or certificate is awarded by Mizzou. Through the Great Plains IDEA program, Penny graduated with a master's in youth development. It was a great day for both Penny and her family.

"This degree gives me the opportunity to advance up through MU Extension and make more money and work with more youth and do more of what I love to do."

So whether you’re a recent graduate, or someone thinking of changing careers — or, like Penny, someone who wants to advance their current career to the next level — check out Mizzou — and prepare yourself for a great future.

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers. 


Hear more from Penny

Is a busy life holding you back from getting your degree? In this episode of Online Stripes, graduate Brittany Smith says that as a student of Mizzou Online, it’s not about you fitting into a class schedule — it’s about how school can fit in with your life. 

So what’s holding you back from getting that degree you’ve always dreamed of? Is it because you can’t seem to visualize balancing your current job AND studying for your degree all at the same time? Or maybe it’s because of your many family obligations. Whatever your reason, we’re here to tell you that with Mizzou Online, it can be done. And don’t just take our word for it. Meet Brittany Smith, from Chicago. Brittany received her master’s degree in family and community services. Why did she choose Mizzou?

"One of the best things, I think, about this online classroom is that you are able to mold things as you need them. It's not about you fitting into a class schedule. It's about how school can fit into your life." 

But convenience wasn’t Brittany’s only factor in choosing Mizzou. It was also the excellence and reputation of Mizzou’s online programs. 

"It also has a really highly-acclaimed Human Development and Family Studies program. I'm not someone that wants to just get an easy degree. I want to work for it. I want to be challenged. I want to have my thoughts and theories provoked. Mizzou did all that." 

While she studied for her degree, Brittany also worked as a child life specialist in a Chicago hospital emergency room — sometimes until 3:00 am — so she was very grateful to find that her professors were very flexible and responsive to her scheduling needs.

"The one thing I really appreciate about Mizzou is that the professors were so communicative about 'These hours I'm free. Do you want to Skype? Do you want to email? Do you want to do a phone call?' They were really open."

At one time during her studies, when she knew she was going to be overwhelmed at work with 8 children receiving transplants at the hospital, Brittany was worried, and emailed her professor to tell him she would be busy for 2 full weeks —and he was more than supportive of her situation.

"He gave me a prompt early and said, 'You know, I understand. We're here to help support you. We want you to learn. How do we help facilitate that?'"

As Brittany discovered, Mizzou offers an excellent online master’s in family and community services that helps students understand family, interpersonal and community dynamics. Her master’s has already been an enormous help in work at the hospital.

"I think saying I have a master's from Mizzou really helps me feel complete with the knowledge that I have. I actually really already been able to take multiple things I've learned from class and apply them to my work and share them with people in my department and throughout the hospital."

And how does Brittany feel about her time at Mizzou?

"Doing Mizzou Online, it's a chance to learn more and be more. Yeah, it's worth it."

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers. 


Hear more from Brittany