Online psychology major Sydney Garner Lewis is the undergraduate recipient of the EKU Omega Nu Lambda scholarship. The senior from Berea, Ky. has taken a unique journey as she pursued her bachelor’s degree – quite literally. She’s a proud Army wife who currently lives in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
She began her freshman year on EKU’s Richmond campus, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Shelby. After her first semester, she got married. Her husband started basic training and deployed to Germany in April. By the time she took spring final, she was making plans to join him for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live abroad. There was just one catch.
“I had always dreamed of going into the medical field in some capacity,” said Sydney. She assumed she would major in biology. “When I moved to Germany, though, my plans had to change completely,” she explained.
She had two choices: enroll in a biology program at a German university or become an online student. She found the idea of starting school in Germany intimidating, especially considering she was still adjusting to the international move and life as a military spouse.
Transferring to an EKU Online degree program, on the other hand, meant that she did not have to give up her dream of earning an EKU diploma. Still, she faced another barrier. Since biology involves laboratory work, schools rarely offer it as an online degree program. Could she change her major and still pursue her dreams?
“I ended up choosing Psychology as my major and have loved it since my first class,” said Sydney.
She’s found ways to build her resume as a student, too. She volunteers for the Red Cross on base. She works as a ward assistant in the family health clinic at the military hospital. Her duties include scheduling appointments, transferring patients and running samples to the lab. In her off hours, she’s earning her degree, and she could not be happier with her EKU experience.
“I can confidently say that — as someone who doesn’t even live in the United States — EKU’s online program has been extremely accommodating and flexible. I can discuss advising appointments over email, and I can have my textbooks shipped to my address overseas,” she explained.
Her professors are available by phone or email, providing her with the same guidance and support that on-campus students receive. She does not hesitate to contact them for advice. When she took the initiative to email Dr. Myra Beth Bundy about an assignment, they also discussed her career plans.
As she approaches graduation, Sydney has a number of career opportunities to explore. She’s also considering a career as a physician’s assistant or a health psychologist. She’s also looking into earning a graduate and working in developmental disability psychology. She may add another EKU degree to her credentials. She is interested in the EKU Online master’s degree is applied behavior analysis. Regardless of which path she chooses, she is confident in her future.
“The knowledge that I gained from my extensive psychology courses leads me to feel that I am ready to take on the next step in my education and my career,” she said.