Archive for the ‘Student Profiles’ Category

Meet SNL Online Alum Kristi Laakkonen

January 3, 2012

Kristi Laakkonen

Kristi is a Summer 2011 SNL graduate from the Chicago area with a focus area in leadership and management.

What field do you currently work in?

I currently work as an Account Manager in the Payroll/HRIS industry.

How did your education at SNL impact your current job?

The way I view my position, my company and my clients is different. The knowledge and skills I gained—specifically through courses that focused on critical thinking, conflict resolution and leadership—have impacted how I handle and prioritize issues, how I interact with my team and internal departments, and how I analyze my clients’ needs. I know that my communication skills have been strengthened and my experience at SNL has helped me to be more strategic in my vision and decision making—personally and professionally.

What do you love about your job?

In my current position, I assist my clients with their payroll and HR questions, programs and initiatives. I really enjoy analyzing their needs, issues or concerns and providing solutions. Most of all, I love the relationships that I am able to form with my clients and the internal associates I interact with.

What advice to you have for current students taking online classes?

Don’t be frightened of online classes. Yes, you will need to be disciplined—but isn’t that true for most things in life? They offer wonderful flexibility and the experience can be as good if not better than a classroom setting. Since I was able to work according to my work/family schedule (sometime even starting at 10pm and working to midnight or waking up early to log in at 5am), online classes made it possible for me to complete my degree. I have been very happy with the interaction with my professors and also formed many, many wonderful long-term relationships with classmates.

Looking back as a student, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started at SNL much, much sooner and I would have found a professional advisor when I started the program or shortly after since they are an integral part of the experience. Otherwise, the entire journey was very rewarding and the professors and advisors have been wonderful to work with.

Your School for New Learning experience helped you by:

  • Developing confidence in myself that I can accomplish by goals and belief that I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • Making Academic Advisors available that truly care and are so passionate about the student’s success.
  • Providing comprehensive courses that would provide an excellent education in a flexible format that made it possible for me to attend classes and earn my degree from a respected university. As a result, I can advance my career.
  • Giving me the opportunity to be an example for my high school age son— showing him that education is essential and possible no matter your age or circumstance.
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Connect with SNL Alumna Sylvia Jung St. Clair

September 14, 2010

Sylvia Jung St. Clair

Meet Sylvia Jung St. Clair, a 2010 graduate of SNL with a focus area in Legal Studies.

What field do you currently work in?

I am a stay-at-home parent to my three children: Mya, age 4; Ilana, age 3; and Owen, age 1, and attend law school part-time.

How did your education at SNL impact your current job?

I tailored my focus area in legal studies knowing attending law school was a goal of mine. I took courses that explored legal issues in family, property, and criminal law, introduced negotiation techniques, learned how to assess and manage conflict, and broadened my ability to analyze rules and apply to multiple scenarios. My focus area surveyed a wide range of skills I will continue to use in law school and beyond.

What advice do you have for current students taking online classes?

Continue to take courses that spark your interest, but try to leave room to explore areas you are unfamiliar with by reading the syllabus before choosing the online course. In an online learning environment, you lose the interactions with your fellow classmates and instructor, but staying proactive with your learning, you will not lose the collaborative learning process that comes with online learning through the discussion boards. If you have questions or need clarification, do not be afraid to contact the instructor directly. Check the boards frequently for new postings and responses.

Looking back as a student, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have enjoyed taking more courses in the arts and ideas category. I really enjoyed learning about topics I was unfamiliar with and gaining more appreciation for the arts.

How did your School for New Learning experience help you?

Staying focused on the goal (competency) of the class and how I could apply this new learning in other aspects of my life (reflective). My SNL experience taught me to constantly critique what I am reading in law school and how it applies to the broader and more general picture.

Meet SNL Alum and Staff Member Imran Ali

April 6, 2010

Imran Ali

Imran Ali is a 2007 graduate of the SNL program.  Imran’s focus area was International Studies.  He is currently the LAS Coordinator at the School for New Learning.

Since graduating from SNL, do you have plans on furthering your education?

I am currently making the final decisions between masters programs. With SNL being a writing and research focused program, I know I am more than prepared to take on more advanced studies.

How did you manage your time as a student? What did you find appealing about taking SNL Online courses?

I found that everyone had an opportunity to contribute to the class discussion. In a traditional on-campus class, not everyone may be able to express all their questions and comments. Because of the way online classes are set up, everyone has the time to collect their thoughts and the opportunity to be heard.

What was your favorite class that you took online with SNL?

Globalization: Winners, Losers, and Social Justice was a class that really encouraged students to give the topic a lot of thought. With globalization being such an influential issue, it demonstrated the realities behind it and broke us out of the many oversimplifications and catchphrases that are out there. With the world becoming more integrated, this course has prepared me for the further changes to come.

Looking back as a student, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have participated more evenly throughout the week. Instead of doing all the discussion in one go, it was easier to break it up into 3-4 smaller efforts.

What advice do you have for current SNL online students?

Make sure to be active in the online discussions for classes. That way you will not feel “out of the loop.” Taking part in these is the only way the instructor can measure participation.

Connect with Rashad Morris

February 10, 2010

Rashad Morris

Rashad, why did you choose SNL Online?

It provided me the flexibility through online classes. I’ve been in adult programs before but this one was attractive because it allows me to customize my learning experience. This is particularly helpful as I can schedule my classes around my professional and personal life. I’m able to partake in face to face classes, online courses as well as independent studies to complete my degree requirements. In previous programs, the design was very similar to traditional degree programs not factoring in the work experience or family life that an adult learner usually comes in with. With SNL, I think this is one of its greatest benefits. I know the direction that I am moving towards in my professional life and can choose the coursework that relates to it.

What’s your favorite course so far?

My favorite SNL course was Self Advocacy/Self Determination. It exposed a lot of habits that I had that prevented me from attaining the highest level of success. This course was, in my opinion, comparable to Foundations.

How about a favorite professor?

My favorite professors thus far were Lynn Royster and Norene Trondsen. They encouraged me in my goals and allowed me to see why I am changing my focus area. When the course got difficult, they continued to see the best in me and encourage me to continue on.

Any tips for current students?

I’d say take Self Advocacy/Self Determination and Foundations very seriously. These classes will help chart your course successfully. I’d also say interview people who are in or have completed the SNL program.

Rashad Morris is an AP Specialist at Equity Office in Chicago, Illinois

Connect with SNL Alumnus Nicole Worley

January 27, 2010

Nicole Worley

Where are you currently working since graduation?

I recently took a position with VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). I am working with Elder Law of Michigan in the benefits enrollment department. We work with low-income individuals, assessing their eligibility for state and local programs and assisting with the daunting application process.

How did you manage your time as an online student?

I worked it around my life. I was working full-time and I still wanted to spend time with my family, so I often studied during lunch breaks. I also dedicated late evening hours to my studies. These times I usually did my reading, short assignments, and blackboard posting. I spent Sunday afternoons working on papers and research.

What did you find appealing about the SNL online program?

I enjoyed the flexibility of the program and that it was geared toward individuals who had life and work experience. Competence based learning ensures that what is taught is very applicable to real-world situations.

What was your favorite class that you took online with SNL?

This is a tough question and one that I find is constantly changing depending on what is currently happening in my life. I really enjoyed my globalization courses. Right now Creative Tools for Social Change is very relevant to my life working with a non-profit organization. I will be able to put into practice many of the lessons I learned in that course.

Looking back as a student, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started my advanced project earlier. I was slightly confused about some particulars and that made the last couple of months a little stressful. Talking to my academic advisor about my plans earlier in the process would have been beneficial. I also would have taken research seminar at the earliest possible time. The research skills I took away from that course were very helpful when writing papers for other courses.

What advice do you have for current SNL online students?

Keep up with your reading, posting, and coursework by making a plan of study each week for every class. It does not need to be complicated or overwhelming, just a few notes about what and when tasks are due in order to keep you on track. Ask for clarification whenever you need it from instructors and advisors.

What are your plans for the future? Do you plan on furthering your education?

After my year working at Elder Law, I plan to attend law school.

SNL Online Student Kellie Sipich

January 21, 2010

SNL Student Kelly Sipich

Why did you decide to return to school at this point in your life?

Upon graduating from high school I started a career in the mortgage industry and found limited time to take a few college courses at the local community college. With increasing success and commitments with my career there was little time available to pursue a college degree. The desire to obtain a degree never diminished with the passing of time. A few years ago opportunities opened up that allowed me to enroll at DePaul SNL.

What is your intended focus area? Why did you choose it?

Business management is my current focus area at SNL. Given the depth and breadth of experience gained from two careers, business management seemed a natural fit to apply my leadership skills.

What has been your favorite SNL Online course so far?

Over the summer, I took an Externship course about the Power of Horses and the use of Equine Therapy. The class covered how horses have the therapeutic ability to help people. What I loved about the class was that out of the 10 weeks, we went on 4 fieldtrips where we became familiar with these therapeutic horses. On the last fieldtrip we got a chance to ride the horses that we had been working with. This class helped me connect with nature and understand how powerful horses are. This course was a great example of new learning just as the externship course is intended to be.

How do you plan to use your DePaul degree after you graduate?

After obtaining my degree in June of 2010, I plan on looking for opportunities to apply my business management skills that will be both challenging and rewarding. The mission of non-profit organizations holds particular appeal to me. Additionally, small non-profit organizations could greatly benefit from the application of business management best practices.

What advice would you give to a student who is new to the program?

The best advice that I could give a new SNL student is to plan out your time and overall competency strategy.  Time management is a key driver of success. Planning out what classes and when they need to be completed makes achieving your goal to graduate more attainable. It is also important to realize that the student needs to drive their own academic career.

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