Penn State World Campus students make first visit to pick up diplomas

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Sherrita Dobson arrives at Penn State for commencement, she will not only be fulfilling a goal two years delayed, but also making her first visit to campus. She completed her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online through Penn State’s World Campus in 2011, but was on active duty in the U.S. Army and unable to attend commencement. Dobson will join World Campus graduates Michael Braddock, another first-time visitor to campus, and Alan Carothers in picking up their diplomas during summer commencement Aug. 10.

A nine-year Army veteran, Dobson was on active duty and in the process of separating from the Army when she completed her degree. She served as an Army dental hygienist while going to school part time. “I’ve always been fascinated with the criminal justice field,” said Dobson, who is engaged in qualifying for the Transportation Security Administration canine explosives detection handler program and also pursuing a master’s degree. She currently works in transportation logistics at the Quantico Marine Base and lives near Quantico, Va.

World Campus graduation

They come from different walks of life but join together to be recognized as graduates of Penn State University. Meet Harmony and Debra, two women who chose Penn State World Campus for complete online educational experiences.

Mike Braddock of Monaca, Pa., was among the last employees to leave Armstrong World Industries’ Beaver Falls plant, after 32 years. He is now ready for a new career, thanks to federal education funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA). “The TAA program is great,” said Braddock, the married father of two daughters, who credits his wife Debbie, a registered nurse, with helping support the family while he completed his criminal justice degree. He is now exploring work in juvenile justice, probation or the court system.

Alan Carothers of State College was a food service sales representative for 12 years, until he was laid off in 2010. He and his wife Trish discussed his options, and Carothers decided to enroll at Penn State part time while working at Wegmans, where he is a team leader. “I’m so excited about graduation,” said Carothers, who earned a master’s degree in supply chain management with help from a scholarship from the STEM Career Advancement Project. He has worked in produce roles in other companies and is exploring international career opportunities.

World Campus enrollment currently totals 12,262 students. During the 2012–13 academic year, there were 415 students enrolled in online supply chain graduate programs and 392 students enrolled in the bachelor of science in criminal justice.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013