Angie Harris doesn’t know what it means to have free time, that’s for sure. Since 1998, she has balanced a banking career, a growing family, and taking courses part time through Northcentral Technical College, UW-Marathon County, Upper Iowa and UW-Stevens Point.
Now she’s on track to graduate from UWSP in fall 2013 thanks to the new online Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management (HWM) degree completion program.
After her second child was born in 2006, Harris was committed to being a stay-at-home mom and running in-home childcare. Four successful years later, Harris started feeling burned out and had a desire to find something to call her own. That’s when the self-proclaimed unathletic mother became a certified group fitness instructor at the YMCA in Weston. Harris also brought the hip-shaking moves of Zumba to her hometown of Mosinee, filling an elementary gym with close to 100 individuals.
With some money in the bank and now three children, Harris decided to go back to school full time in 2009, but, once again, life happened. Just weeks before orientation, she found out baby number four was on the way. “I cried,” said Harris, “but was still determined to enroll.”
•Point of Pride•
The School of Health Promotion & Human Development
has played a role in the $1.8 million Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant that was awarded to the Stevens Point Area Public School District in 2010. Last year, nutrition faculty and students worked with UWSP’s Physical Education Department to create physical education activities with nutrition content. Work continues in the final year of the grant to finalize these activities into a resource for use by all physical education teachers in the district.
With an expected due date in the middle of November, Harris’ confidence got a boost from the UWSP School of Health Promotion & Human Development (HPHD). “I didn’t get any hesitation from the advising staff or faculty—and I was thrilled to feel all the support!”
One of Harris’ supporters was Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Wellness Celine Kline, Ed.D. “Education is an important milestone in Angie’s life and many of us in HPHD wanted to help her find an avenue that would support her goal of learning and being intellectually stimulated.”
Even with all the encouragement at home and UWSP, Harris hit a rough patch. Moments of self-doubt, frustration and desperation led her to drop out of school after three semesters.
To Harris’ luck, UW-Stevens Point teamed up with three other University of Wisconsin System schools to introduce the new online HWM degree completion program.
The HWM program is designed for students who already have some college credits or an associate degree—perfect for busy adults like Harris. “I have always had the passion and desire to earn a degree for myself and my family but nothing has worked out until now!”
Along the way, the faculty and staff were right there. “The key is finding a method that allows students to accomplish both parenting and career goals while helping them continue to grow into the person they are striving to be,” said Kline.
There’s still no slowing down for Harris, who has a long-term academic goal of earning a master’s in human and community resources from UWSP. “I have four children so I must be flexible.”