“I chose EKU because I am a unique student with unique needs, and EKU provides an avenue for students like me to succeed,” said EKU Online Psychology student Jason Tate.
Due to family and financial circumstances, Jason did not receive formal education after third grade. “Educational neglect is a larger problem for rural Appalachia and other parts of the country than people really understand,” said Jason who grew up in London, Kentucky. Motivated to create his own opportunities, he earned his GED and an associate degree.
When he decided to earn a bachelor’s degree, the idea of maintaining a full-time job to make ends meet while going to school was daunting. “As a non-traditional, first generation, and socioeconomically disadvantaged student, I was apprehensive about enrolling,” he admitted.
He chose EKU because he wanted more from his online degree program.
“I wanted to take courses online and keep my schedule flexible but, at the same time, I still wanted small, intimate class sizes and professors who were invested in my success as a student. I found these things at EKU,” he said.
The most rewarding part of Jason’s EKU experience has been building relationships with faculty, staff and fellow students.
“My experiences at EKU have been nothing short of exceptional,” said Jason. “Being highly responsive and encouraging collaboration and discussion among students is what really set my [EKU Online] instructors apart.” Through e-mails and phone conversations, Jason has made meaningful connections enabling him to find research opportunities, learn more about graduate programs and get letters of recommendation.
Professor of Psychology Myra Beth Bundy nominated Jason for the 2017 eCaps Outstanding Student Award, which recognizes exceptional EKU Online students. She is honored to have had him in class and appreciates his dedication. “The insights he has about course content, applications, and integration with psychology as a whole are deep and improve the quality of every online discussion in which he participates,” she said.
As graduation approaches, Jason believes he has earned more than the credentials he needs for career advancement. “My degree, or rather, the experiences that led to my obtaining it, have provided me with a host of skills that I will use to reach my future goals — not just in Psychology, but in all aspects of life,” he said.
Jason’s current job allows him to help others achieve their dreams. He works for Blue Grass Community Foundation, a nonprofit that connects numerous charitable organizations throughout Kentucky with donors and resources. “BGCF is a fantastic organization that does a lot of good,” he said.
He will keep working toward his own goals, too. “I hope to continue my education after graduating from EKU. As of right now, I am not certain if I will pursue a Ph.D. or if I will aim for a professional degree but, I know that my journey is not over yet,” he said.