Travis and Sara Inman

Sara Inman came back to school for professional advancement and her husband, Travis, pursued graduate education in order to change careers completely. Mizzou made available the access they needed at just the right time in their lives.

“Travis and Sara represent the growing number of nontraditional students who obtain an initial degree, join the workforce, and later return to higher education to pursue a different career,” said MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright Nov. 15 in a speech marking his first 100 days with Mizzou.

Sara and Travis are examples of success in the University’s land-grant mission of providing access to a world-class education. Sara, a health care professional at the Missouri Orthopedics Institute, is pursuing an online master’s in health administration (MHA). Travis, a former Missouri state trooper, is working toward a dual master’s degree in veterinary medicine and public health (DVM/MPH).

Career ambitions

Sara comes from a small town in southwest Missouri. Her high school class had just 26 students. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of the Ozarks and has worked in health care for 10 years.

Online study is helping her reach her lifelong goal of obtaining a master’s degree. “I never imagined I would make it this far with higher education. But I thought, ‘Why not?’ I can keep going,” Sara said.

Travis was a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper. Like many mid-career adults, he had changing career ambitions. He came to Mizzou to fulfill his dream of becoming a veterinarian.

To better serve nontraditional students like the Inmans, Mizzou has been making online degree programs and other customized learning experiences available for 20-plus years.

“MU’s innovative educators know that many students need to come back to pursue professional and graduate credentials in the context of their life circumstances and at a pace convenient for them,” Cartwright said.

Awareness of adult learners’ needs is important. “There can be a lot of anxiety for nontraditional students,” Travis said. “But I’m here to say Mizzou offers a lot of support for us.”

Online study is part of that support. “It gave me the flexibility to continue my full-time job,” Sara said. “We also have a 4-year-old daughter, so I was able to go to school and still take care of her at the same time.”

Online options

Whether on campus or online, working professionals like Travis and Sara reach their full potential with MU. Stories like theirs “illustrate the fact that there are many pathways our students take to achieve their personal goals,” Cartwright said. “Like life, those pathways are not linear.”

Sara’s degree program, the online executive MHA, helps health care professionals integrate their clinical competencies with managerial skills. The program prepares students like Sara prepare for leadership positions in health care.

Travis is pursuing his dual degree on campus. However, starting in fall 2018, Mizzou grad students will be able to enroll in a new, 100-percent online master’s program in veterinary public health. Applications are being accepted now and the classes begin August.

MU is helping couples like Travis and Sara become #MizzouMade right when they need it. If you’re a mid-career professional and you want to take your career higher or in a new direction, see what MU’s 100+ online degrees and certificates can do for you.

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