Good grades came easily for Andrew Keith in high school. That changed when he started college.
“I was not prepared the first time around,” said Keith. He does not think he was emotionally or intellectually mature enough for college in those days. He lacked the discipline to go to class and complete his assignments.
“I went back to school several times in my early twenties, but I eventually stayed in the workforce,” he explained.
He held a managerial position at an information technology services company for more than a decade, but something was missing. “I had always wanted to complete my degree,” he said. When he decided to get his undergraduate degree in general studies, he chose EKU Online. He was able to transfer credit he earned at other schools and also use credit he had previously earned at Eastern Kentucky University. This time it felt different. “I really wanted the degree, and I devoted the right amount of time to my studies. It was a very positive experience,” he said.
He was so pleased with his undergraduate program that he decided to earn his master’s in public administration. Once again, he chose EKU Online. “Working in an online environment has been perfect for me. I have had a great experience with the instructors and the content of the program,” he said.
Andrew appreciates the support of the EKU Online faculty and staff. “I like that the attention [online students] receive is the same as I received in a traditional in-person environment. The content, the seriousness of the feedback, and the conscientiousness of the staff have served me well,” he said.
MPA Program Coordinator Dr. LeAnn Beatty became his mentor. “She presented opportunities I had not seen before,” he recalled. She encouraged his interest in community development and suggested an internship with a nonprofit group instead of the public sector.
“I discovered a love for working with community action projects such as the Center for Rural Development and the shelters here,” said Keith, who lives near Somerset, Kentucky. His internship was with Bethany House Abuse Shelter, which is a local nonprofit that offers services to families affected by domestic violence.
The connections he made working at Bethany House led to a new job offer as he was preparing to graduate from the MPA program. Andrew is now the program manager for Over My Head Homeless Shelter.“My internship actually allowed me to switch careers and land this job,” he said.
Andrew’s MPA led to a new career and a renewed sense of pride. “I’ve always enjoyed learning, but it took some growing up to see the value in a degree. I found myself tearing up during the commencement ceremony. I’m grateful for this experience,” he said.