'Baseball wife,' Navy pilot & wife among Penn State World Campus grads

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State adult learner Nicole Bianchi studied online in public libraries between her husband's Minor League baseball games. Lt. Michael Choe, a U.S. Navy pilot, and his wife Amanda Choe juggled the challenges of military life to complete their degrees online. They and other adult students who earned their degrees at University Park campus and online through the World Campus will be honored at a Penn State Outreach graduation celebration.

The celebration will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at the Nittany Lion Inn. On Dec. 17, an estimated 2,733 degrees will be conferred during Penn State's University Park fall commencement ceremonies.

Bianchi, whose husband Jeff played shortstop for the Kansas City Royals AA League this past season, said she "loves baseball, traveling and everything about being a baseball wife, even the crazy lifestyle." High school sweethearts, the Bianchis married when Nicole was attending Penn State Berks. "It was great to experience college life on a campus and then be able to finish my degree online so I could travel with my husband," said Bianchi of her bachelor's of science in organizational leadership, which she hopes to use in a volunteer capacity while Jeff makes his way through the minor league system.

"School was my way to do something for myself and reach my goals," added Bianchi, who is from Lancaster, Pa., and lives out of a suitcase during the baseball season. To keep up with her classes, she studied in public libraries, Starbucks and parking lots, even taking tests in her car.

Michael and Amanda Choe of Corpus Christi, Texas, chose Penn State's World Campus "because of its stellar reputation and because the military requires us to move every couple of years, which makes it difficult to enroll in a local program with the same high quality as Penn State's," said Michael, a military flight instructor. Since Amanda already had an associate degree, "our graduation dates lined up perfectly with our move." Two days after Michael receives his master's of business administration and Amanda receives her bachelor's of art in law and society, they will fly to South Korea for Michael's next assignment as a general's aide.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 70 of Penn State's most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University's 25th campus serving more than 10,300 students in all 50 states and around the world. World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.
 

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Last Updated December 14, 2011