Karen is an online doctoral student in nursing who lives in St Paul, Minnesota, where she is on the faculty of St. Catherine University. She also works as a staff nurse, though her focus is on teaching.

When Karen decided to complete her doctorate, she thought an online program would work best for her and sought recommendations from colleagues in St. Paul.

“A couple things made UWM work for me,” she says. “One was the online option. The second was having two colleagues in the department where I teach who had earned their degrees at UWM – one online and the other in the face-to-face format. They told me it was doable and the faculty at UWM are high-caliber.”

She also liked the combination of flexibility and structure offered by UWM’s online program.

“The biggest reason I chose online was the flexibility,” Karen says. “On the other hand, there is the level of accountability. It is quite structured, so there is a path laid out for you. It is achievable, but it’s still not so rigid that I have to give up everything else.”

Karen is on track to finish her doctorate in the next year. Her dissertation research will explore the perceptions of social justice advocacy and service learning experiences among undergraduate students and how they can help address health disparities in the United States.

Working online with a cohort of others gives her new insights into the profession. “I like to learn,” she says, “and I like being in a community and an environment where I’m exploring different topics and different ways of doing things as a nurse.”

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