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Brook Lindsey, MDS Online Graduate

Brook Lindsey MDS Student Spotlight
Student Spotlight:  Brook Lindsey, MDS Online Graduate

Brook came to the Multidisciplinary Studies program as her last hope to reach her goal of finishing her degree after a streak of difficult circumstances made completing her traditional degree unattainable. Now, Brook is a Boise State graduate working towards her next goal of becoming a certified teacher.

How did you find the MDS program?

Finding Multidisciplinary Studies was my open window when all my doors had closed. I had been attending BSU since 2013 working hard to keep my grades up, going after a degree in elementary education, finding 40 plus hours to work two different jobs, and feeling good about making my way. Then, one night, I found myself in the middle of someone else’s explosive rage and the reality set in that I had somehow become engulfed in a personal relationship which had become a mess. The night I ended up locked in a room hiding from a boyfriend who had become abusive, I realized my life had spun out of control. It was the week of finals and I wondered if I was going to lose everything. I had to escape the abuse, somehow keep studying for finals, move out of an apartment while avoiding an abuser, and find a way to salvage my college education and my dream of becoming a teacher. I knew I had to leave Boise due to the situation, but the thought of giving up my dream of graduating from BSU was devastating. He had already taken so much from me; I didn’t want him to take my dream too. In between my finals, I called different Arizona schools and different BSU advisors. Despite 113 credit hours, many in education, it seemed like every door was closing on my college degree unless I stayed in Boise, which I simply couldn’t do. And then I found that one person who listened and truly cared. She was a saving grace who, the day before school was released for Winter break, took time to stop and help me find a path. She introduced me to Multidisciplinary Studies and for the first time in weeks, I had hope again. She had looked beyond the moment and the mess. She had seen my dreams, my good grades, my dedication, and my passion. She was a lifesaver when I needed it most. With her help, I was directed to the MDS program. Sighing a breath of relief for the first time in a week finally came once the advisors in the MDS program heard my situation and reached out to help. I needed to leave Boise, yet they helped me find a way back to my dream–a way to graduate from BSU. Switching to the Multidisciplinary program gave me a path to complete school, and though it would not be in education, it was still a path to becoming a teacher–just along a different road. I could be in a safe space and finish my degree. So my path to the MDS program was certainly not planned, but it was an open window when the doors were closing in on me and I was about to suffocate.

Why did you choose MDS?

MDS became my salvation in a difficult time where I thought all hope may be lost. The idea that I didn’t have to give up my dream was an amazing healing power on my road to finding myself. I choose MDS because it was my way of seeing beyond the horizon. It was my hope.

How would you say that MDS is different from other degree programs?

MDS is completely different than any other degree program. This degree allows you to choose classes that will benefit and interest you the most. The advisors are amazing at helping you find your way to graduation and are always reaching out to help support you. I feel like the MDS advisors actually care about me being successful.  It actually feels that my success is her success–like she has some skin in the game, like she is truly going to catch me if I start to fall. That is such a huge difference from any other program. I know in this program I matter to them.

Did you take your courses online or on campus?

I have taken all of my classes in the MDS program online, which has been a challenge. Some days I find it hard to log on and set time aside to learn. However taking classes online is wonderful when you have a crazy busy schedule. You have to be determined and set time aside for learning even when you don’t want too. I feel like online courses are a lot harder than in person. Working online, you have to be fully engaged. You can’t just do seat time and listen, or pretend to listen. You are accountable for being engaged in not only your assignments, but everyone else’s as well. You don’t have that face-to-face interaction or that carved our time to be in class. It takes lots of hard work, patience and determination!

Why was it important for you to finish what you started?

School has always been a top priority of mine. An education is one of the few things that no one can take away from you. What could be a more precious or important gift? Up until college, schooling came so naturally. I worked hard for my grades but enjoyed spending eight hours each day learning. Once college came, my world flipped. It was nothing like I expected and learning didn’t come as naturally as it had before. In fact, I had to push myself each day. Continuing my education became a challenge. I moved away for college and didn’t have the guidance of my parents. My first semester away, my mother was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer, causing me to miss many days of school for travel back to Arizona. This made keeping my grades up even more difficult. A year later I became a part-time student and by the year after, I had changed my major twice. My schooling was a confusing mess. However my dream of graduating never changed. I didn’t care how long it took as long as I finish my education and had that degree in my hand. Whatever life throws at me, I will always have an education as my umbrella. When everything blew up in my life, I realized how close I was to losing all of the hard work I had put in. I realized just how precious this gift truly was. And in all the darkness, when I finally found a ray of light, a sliver of hope, I was determined to hold on to it and get to the finish line.

Did you do an internship as part of your degree? If so, describe your experience.

I am currently doing my first internship and will do another this summer. For my internship, I interned at a middle school in an in-school suspension classroom. This has been such an amazing experience. At first, I just thought it sounded interesting, but the more I worked with the students and got to know more about this program, the more I have fallen in love with it!! Originally I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but now I want to be an elementary teacher who works with at-risk kids or in an in-school suspension environment where I can really make a difference with kids who need someone to care about them. Seeing the difference I have made in lives and the improvements students have made in just a few months has been phenomenal!

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

After I complete the MDS degree I will pursue becoming a certified teacher and work toward my masters’ degree in education. I also am working on a plan to be in the classroom teaching by August of 2017.

What are you passionate about? How have you been able to incorporate your passions into your degree?

I am passionate about teaching, making a difference, and helping others. As a teacher, I can accomplish all three of my passions. I love this degree because even though it is not the degree I originally had in mind, it still allows me to customize my degree plan to fit my end goal. Most of the classes I am currently taking can be related to my future career and even implemented in the classroom.

What advice can you give to a current or future MDS student?


Just keep pushing yourself to do your best work and take an interest in all of your assignments. In the MDS program, it is truly up to you to be successful. No one is going to let you zone out and then slide through based on a good test score. A lot of what I have learned in this degree I can already see I will use in education multiple times in my life. It can be challenging to stay focused on completing your degree when you have different challenges in your life. Balancing is definitely a skill that has to be learned. The MDS program is a lot of hard work, but it affords you an incredible opportunity to direct your own learning in many ways. I have been able to customize what is truly going to enhance me as a person.

What was your greatest challenge during the MDS program and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was when I had just begun my MDS degree. I was in a new degree with unfamiliar classes, taking my first semester completely online, starting my first internship, had just moved to a different state, and had to find a new job. There was a lot on my plate and a lot of new things I had to figure out besides school. I had to learn how to be a multitasker and how to balance a plateful. I also had to learn to be patient with other online classmates. I like getting my work finished early–I’m definitely not a procrastinator. Because much of the work is teamwork, I had to realize not everyone is like me, and I had to learn to work with different personalities, including those who are procrastinators.

What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

While I was on campus at BSU, I was involved in InterVarsity, a Christian group on campus and also started a bible study in my dorm. Other than that, most of my time was spent working two or three jobs at a time which didn’t leave much room for extracurricular activities.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am extremely passionate about helping others and making people smile. I am very outgoing, energetic, determined, and comical. Before college, I would spend my summers traveling around California and Arizona building and repairing houses for the less fortunate. Now I love to travel and have been all over, though I do hate spending time in the car! In college, I started my own bible study and became passionate about living a Christian lifestyle. I enjoy snowboarding, long boarding, spending time on the water, working out, and surrounding myself with friends.

Kelli Kindig, MDS Graduate

Kelli Kindig PhotoKelli Kindig Graduate Spotlight

Kelli graduated from the Multidisciplinary Studies program spring 2017 with plans to work with the Idaho National Guard. She found that MDS was applicable to her interests and goals and flexible enough to work with her military obligations and keep her on track to graduate on time.

How did you find the MDS program?

I found the MDS Degree through the help of the military science program and professors at Boise State. They guided me to the program to be able to finish my bachelors in time to commission into the military.

Why did you choose MDS?

I chose MDS because I needed something that would allow me to graduate on time in accordance with my military obligations as well. The degree has turned out to be a perfect allowing me to be well rounded and learn skills from a degree that actually applies to today’s working society.

How would you say that MDS is different from other degree programs?

I would say it is most different because the concepts learned are actually applicable to what is found in today’s workplace.

Why was it important for you to finish what you started?

It is important to finish what I started to be able to fulfill my goals and obtain a degree that will allow me to do more. It not only fulfills my goals but also those who support me. I am accomplishing something I told others I would. At times it seemed like it was going to be impossible to obtain but sticking it out and persevering makes it all worth it in the end!

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

After I complete my MDS degree, I plan on becoming a 2LT in the Idaho National Guard. I plan to use my degree to be able to obtain an active guard reserve or technician position for the Idaho National Guard. Due to an MDS degree being adaptive, I can apply for many available positions in the guard.

Do you take courses on campus or online? If online, do you like the online program?


I take some courses on campus for my military science classes. All my bridge to business career courses are online as well as my multidisciplinary classes. I do like the online program. It definitely allows me more flexibility in completing assignments.

What are you passionate about? How have you been able to incorporate your passions into your degree?

I am passionate about being in the military. I thoroughly enjoy the environment and being able to work with others who are passionate about serving and providing selfless service to our country. My degree incorporates my passions by allowing me to commission as an officer and gain a future career with the guard.

What advice can you give to a current or future MDS student?


Balance, balance, balance. Do not try and work too much or take too many classes. You will be so stretched out with your efforts that everything will suffer.

What was your greatest challenge during the MDS program and how did you overcome it?

We ended up being short-handed for the military ROTC program at Boise State. A lot of field training and lab planning had to be made up for. This put a lot more busyness and time constraints on my schedule. I communicated with professors and worked hard when I could and got help also where I could use it in order to accomplish the extra work.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am going to be a helicopter pilot.

Sheri Cook, MDS Graduate

Sheri Cook, MDS Graduate

Sheri completed her Multidisciplinary Studies degree and kept on going! She is now working towards a master’s degree in Public Administration and hopes to add on a graduate certificate in conflict management. She started the Multidisciplinary Studies program to move ahead in her current job and set a good example for her children: a goal that she has accomplished.

How did you find the MDS program?

I came across MDS quite by accident – I called BSU’s Center for Professional Development, as I wanted to take their Leadership courses. The woman I spoke to directed me to the MDS program. I was fortunate to reach Rebecca when I called the office. She was wonderful, enthusiastic, and gave me hope I had been missing for a while.

Why did you choose MDS?

MDS was the fastest way for me to complete my degree, and offered flexibility that my previous major did not. I was essentially able to tailor my courses to the things I am passionate about – leadership and dispute resolution – and earn two certificates in conjunction with my degree. I love the flexibility of online and in-person classes. MDS has offered better advising, greater flexibility, and stronger support than any other degree path I researched.

How would you say that MDS is different from other degree programs?

How is MDS not different? I am unaware of any other undergraduate degree programs who work so hard to make flexible options available to students like me – students returning to school after an absence, students who have previously-earned credits, students who probably have several other balls to juggle at the same time as classes.

Why was it important for you to finish what you started?

I am 40 years old, and have completely hit a wall in my career. I cannot advance without a bachelors degree, and I am not willing to stay in the same position (or a different lateral position) for the next 30 years. In addition, I have four children. Only one of the 4 enjoys school, but I fear that none of them will be able to function in the world on their own without a degree. I need them to see that it is possible, it is achievable, and that even their mom can do it.

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

After graduation, I plan to continue at BSU in the Graduate College, pursuing a Masters of Public Administration degree, as well as a graduate certificate in conflict management. I plan to continue working where I am, until/unless something amazing and exciting presents itself. I have worked at the same company for over 18 years, and I realize that I may have to leave to find new challenges. We’ll see.

Do you take courses on campus or online? If online, do you like the online program?


I have taken courses both online and on campus. I like them both. I especially like the flexibility of online courses. I have found instructors to be knowledgeable and easy to reach, which also helps immensely.

What are you passionate about? How have you been able to incorporate your passions into your degree?

I am passionate about people. I believe that every person holds potential – everyone has their own strengths and has the potential for greatness. I think that focusing on those strengths and providing opportunities for success makes it easier to work on areas that are less strong, as well as creating thoughtful, happy people. It really applies to every aspect of life, and it means more than anything to me when I can be a support to someone’s success. I love my leadership courses because I want to be that supportive person who equips others to succeed.

What advice can you give to a current or future MDS student?


Do it. It won’t be easy, and some days you’ll feel so overwhelmed you think it will never end. But there are moments – periods of time – that are so fulfilling, so rewarding, that you’ll never want to stop. You can do this. And when you reach your last semester, when the end is so close you can feel it, you will look back and be grateful for each person who helped and supported you, each opportunity you had to learn and grow, and each moment of hard work, endurance, and perseverance that brought you to this stage.

What was your greatest challenge during the MDS program and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was speeding up my graduation date, and taking a full-time course load for my final 3 semesters. I had been successfully completing 6-9 credits each semester for over a year and felt I could handle it, but about mid-way through that first full-time semester, I nearly had a meltdown and quit altogether. My husband is amazing and has been so incredibly supportive. He told me he’d be really mad at me if I didn’t finish now after all the work and time invested. He really balances me, and I’m not sure where I’d be without him.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I guess I don’t find myself a particularly surprising person, but others are sometimes surprised that I’m Basque, that I play co-ed Sunday softball, and that I have a strange passion/addiction for yarn (I love to knit and crochet, and shopping for yarn is the only type of shopping I really enjoy).

What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

I work a full-time job, married to my best friend, mother of 4 – my extracurricular activities have pretty much been off-campus. Well, except for Bronco football. I have really enjoyed having student tickets!

Did you complete an internship as part of your degree?

I did participate in one internship credit. I was a TA for LEAD 327 the semester after I completed the course. I was able to create and teach lessons, facilitate groups, and learn a different side of academia. I loved it.