Distance Education Alumni

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Peer and instructor support helps student obtain ‘ultimate goal’

When Tamika Cain Proctor called in for her interview, it was fitting that she was traveling for work. As a Quality Control Manager for Clement Groups, Proctor manages construction sites throughout the country and spends much of her time on the road. Her tricky schedule proved to be one of the greatest challenges she faced in pursuing her master’s degree in Engineering, but Proctor found a support network in her instructors.

“Trying to keep up was hard because I travel so much for work,” Proctor said. “It could be hard to balance, but my instructors understood. I made sure to connect with my instructors at the beginning of each class and let them know my situation. As long as I was up front with them and told them I might need some help with deadlines, they worked with me. They knew I was working full time and they were there to help.”

Proctor took a similar approach to working with her classmates. She was able to bring real-world experiences into the classroom, such as her work on the construction of a fragmentation simulator for the Experimental Research and Development Center in Montgomery, Alabama, and encouraged others to share their experiences as well. For Proctor, communication and building relationships with her classmates outside the regular coursework not only made the discussions and group work easier and more rewarding, but provided important networking opportunities.

“You never know what you might need and how someone might be able to help you,” Proctor said. “I’m still talking to a peer because he lives and works in Atlanta and I am going to be moving there. I ask him questions about the city and work, and we still work together a lot.”

In May 2015, Proctor found herself not traveling for work, but traveling to campus to receive her diploma. She was able to meet her advisor and various instructors before the ceremony and celebrate with her fellow graduates, but the real thrill was her big moment on stage.

“Getting hooded in front of everyone was very cool. That was the ultimate goal, to be hooded and stand in front of everyone and say, ‘I did it, I made it.’”

New admits to the Engineering, Project Management, and Industrial Supply Chain Management programs may be eligible for scholarship funding through UW-Platteville and the National Science Foundation. Find more information at GoUWP.com/NSF.

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