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Where Are They Now?

 

Shana Kittrell, MDS Graduate

Photo of MDS Student, Shana Kittrell

Shana Kittrell’s story is like many Multidisciplinary Studies students: she attended school in the past multiple times and was ready to finally finish her degree. When she found MDS, she found a comfortable, supportive environment that set her up for success. Her passion for healthcare and leadership has motivated her to continue her education and she is now pursuing a second degree from Boise State!

How did you find the MDS program?

I found the MDS program through a friend who was currently in the program. She gave my Rebecca’s email and that is where it all started for me.

Why did you choose MDS?

I chose MDS because I had gone back to school before just to leave again. The advising staff was so amazing and supportive. I loved that the program is geared towards the success of the students. I have never felt more comfortable talking about my past grades with anyone. I will forever be grateful for the support I was given through out the past two years.

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

MDS is so different from any other program at Boise State because they want each student to succeed. No student is left behind and the support staff provided to the students is excellent. They take the time to be there for each student and you are not just another number in the crowd. The professors have all been wonderful as well, classes are geared towards our success and they take the time to get to know their students.

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

It was important to finish what I started because I am now the mother of two wonderful daughters. I wanted to show them that dreams can come true no matter what age you are and no matter how many bumps you may hit along the way.

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

After graduation in May I plan on actually continuing my education. The MDS program has given me a new found confidence in my ability to go further and strive for the top. I have had many great professors through out the past two years and I have gained leadership skills that will greatly benefit my future.

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


I take both online and on campus classes. I decided to add the Leadership Certificate to my degree and some of those classes are on campus. I love the online program! I tell so many people about the MDS program and how it makes it completing your degree attainable. I am a stay at home mom and full time student. The online classes allow me the freedom to complete my homework around my kids’ schedule.

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

I am passionate about leadership and healthcare. I have been able to incorporate that into my degree by taking leadership and teamwork classes. I am also completing my service learning through a program called baby steps that provides health education to new mothers. I am so lucky to have found a program that incorporates all my passions into my final course.

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


My best advice is to communicate with your advisor. If you need to be a part time student one semester than do it. This degree allows you to complete it at your own pace. Stick to it and they will support you to the finish line.

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

My greatest challenge was first actually getting started. I am pretty sure I started crying in Rebecca’s office as I began my journey. My hardest semester was my second one in the program, I was pregnant with my second baby due in February so after talking with my advisor I decided to go part time and I also communicated with my professors. I made it through with support and communication from my teachers and advisors.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

People would be surprised to know that I have been in and out of college for 12 years and I will finally be graduating in May! I plan to continue my education after I walk because the MDS program has made me believe anything is possible.

Amy Clark, MDS Graduate

Amy Clark Photo

Amy Clark graduated from Boise State’s Multidisciplinary Studies program in spring 2017.

While working on her degree she began a new career as a Financial Professional where she is helping others reach their life goals. Amy took classes both on the Boise State main campus and online and has great advice for other students that are trying to balance life, work, and school.

How did you find the MDS Degree?

I was searching the BSU website hoping to find a few classes that I could take that would further my education and eventually lead me to a degree. I was so pleased to find the MDS Degree that was perfect for me.

Why did you choose MDS?

I had always wanted to get my degree and I had quite a few credits already. I had owned several businesses and had a ton of life experience, so the name alone was enough to convince me. I was Multi-disciplined in my life. The fact that I could essentially take the life skills I had and the credits I had and wrap them into a perfect little package was awesome.

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

I had always felt that I had failed in college and I didn’t think that I would ever be able to move on from that until I received my degree. It is such a feeling of accomplishment to finally be graduating. If I can accomplish this, I can accomplish anything.

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

I will be working as a Financial Professional with New York Life. Through all of my life experience, and now my degree, I really feel prepared to help people reach their own goals in their life.

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


I took classes both on campus and online. I really wanted to have the experience of classes in person, but I also had a full-time job, so I needed to take some online. I have a minor in Psychology, and there aren’t many psychology classes online, so I took those on campus. I like doing both. I was able to do the online classes on my own time, but I had the interaction with students and was able to make some new friends.

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

I am passionate about helping people. I want everyone to succeed at something. I have been able to do some service learning that has incorporated my passions which has been great!

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


Just do it! Do one assignment at a time and don’t give up. Sometimes it feels like a long road, but it goes faster than you think and soon you will be graduating.

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

My greatest challenge was starting my career a year before I graduated. The timing was a little bit crazy, but I just kept taking the next step and doing the next thing. This year has gone so fast.

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

It is really great for students that don’t really know what they want to do when they grow up. Through the whole process, I was able to explore myself and figure out what I really wanted to do as a career.

What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

I play ice hockey and golf. However, I was recruited by my New York Life about a year ago, so I have spent a lot of the last year working on training with them. I have loved every minute of it and between work and school, I am ready for anything.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

That I am a 45 and play ice hockey. I didn’t start until I was 38 and It is the most fun thing I have ever done. I play on a women’s team and we travel to different places to play in tournaments.

Sunny Shaw, MDS Graduate

Sunny Shaw Photo

Sunny graduated from the MDS program in 2016. She is currently working as the Executive Director at The Housing Authority of the City of Pocatello.

How did you find the MDS Degree?

I initially applied to the College of Business. While speaking with the advisor in that department, she shared that it was disappointing that I would lose so many of my previous credits earned in that department. She wondered if I had considered MDS. I hadn’t, simply because I hadn’t heard of it. She made an appointment for me with Alexis and the rest is history.

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

The primary reason is for that sense of accomplishment. Not finishing my degree has, quite frankly, always made me feel like I let myself down. That will soon change! The second reason is for my career. I am one of the “lucky ones” to have advanced as far as I have without a degree. It’s not really heard of in my profession. My hope is to add my education to my experience and utilize them to have an even larger impact on the communities I serve.

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

Without question I will remain in the affordable housing industry. However, should the opportunity arise, I would consider moving to a larger housing authority. That won’t be possible without my degree. Having my degree will also lend to greater credibility as I pursue community changing partnerships and endeavors.

In the little bit of spare time you have, what are you passionate about? Where do you find yourself spending your time?

I am passionate about what I do, housing and working to fight poverty through changing community. I believe education is key to ending the cycle of poverty and am working on introducing programs in our community that will impact that cycle. When I am not working, or brainstorming about ideas for work, I am usually reading about income inequality and how great leaders create change. I also travel across the country frequently, learning and being inspired by my housing colleagues.

What fun activities do you like to participate in?

I have an amazing family and network of friends. We like to go four wheeling, snowmobiling, camping, and we are football nuts (go Broncos). I like to “hang out” and laugh. I have the most amazing brat dog that helps keep it all real.

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

Go for it!! Create your plan and stick with it. Make sure that you work to create balance. Because I have such a hectic work schedule, it would be easy to let school consume the rest of my time. It’s important to remember that you want your family and friends to still be around when you are DONE with school so create balance by making time for them, as well.

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

Online! I absolutely LOVE the online program. I wouldn’t be able to finish my degree if it weren’t for online. I work an average of 50 hours a week. Add to that the fact that I am a commuter. I work 2 hours from my home. Time just wouldn’t allow for me to attend class in person. Don’t be fooled, the pace and workload for online classes is every bit as challenging as any class I have taken in person. Sometimes, it’s actually more challenging. The caveat is that I can do my classwork at 11 at night if that’s what works best for my schedule. The fact that BSU has begun to move to online allows me to graduate from a respected college as opposed to one of the online schools that have been such a craze.

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

Balance. I have a ‘roll up my sleeves and get to it’ mentality. It is really easy for me to block out the world and just focus on the task at hand. I had to be really aware of the cues of my family and friends. It is important to take time out for your relationships and not have blinders on in regards to those relationships. Balance has been my biggest challenge.

How would you say MDS is different?

MDS is life changing! I was able to have all of my previously earned credits accepted. This is HUGE. It probably saved me an extra year of school. The thing, however, that is most different about MDS is that I am able to tailor my degree to fit my needs. My degree has three facets to it: the people I serve, business management, and leadership/advocacy. I am taking classes that will strengthen my skill in each of these areas (sociology, psychology, addictions, business, marketing, leadership, etc…) which truly makes it an Affordable Housing CEO degree.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Colleagues are surprised to learn that I don’t have a degree. People that just met me would be surprised to know that I am the incoming Regional President (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho) of our professional organization and that I serve on multiple national housing committees.

Where is your favorite study spot?

My husband calls it the princess tower. The upstairs of our house is home to my office. It has the study essentials… desk, chair, lights, but it also has the things I love and that make me feel at peace. My home office sets the frame of mind to focus and work hard.