World Campus spring graduates include students in U.S., Afghanistan

April 30, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A married couple in New Jersey, a State College resident and a civilian worker in Afghanistan will all receive degrees earned online through the World Campus during Penn State’s spring commencement May 3 to 5.

Among the Penn State students graduating during University Park campus commencement are Tom Brown, a civilian worker in Afghanistan; Matthew and Diana Kirk of Riverside, N.J.; and Jamie Reep, of State College, Pa.

World Campus graduates who are attending commencement also are invited to the World Campus and Continuing Education Graduation Celebration from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

Brown, who earned a master’s degree in homeland security, geospatial intelligence option, is now a civilian intelligence analyst with a military contractor in Afghanistan. He previously served 13 years in the Marine Corps. Sgt. Brown enrolled in the master’s program while a Marine to become more marketable for future jobs. During his last military deployment in Afghanistan, he said, “I was able to assist and use tradecraft, some of which I learned from Penn State, which ultimately resulted in expedited transfer of authority to Afghan National Security Forces way ahead of schedule.”

For the Kirks, parents of daughter Kelly, 11, the World Campus made it possible to gain education for current and future employment opportunities. Matt Kirk, a Riverton Borough Police Department patrolman with 20 years of policing, is considering a second career — in business. Diana Kirk, an executive secretary with a behavioral health facility in Philadelphia, where she has worked for 22 years, wants a degree for career advancement.

Diana Kirk will receive her associate degree in letters, arts and sciences, and will continue on for a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in the World Campus. “The flexibility of online classes is so much better for me,” added Kirk, who previously enrolled in community college courses. Matt Kirk earned an administration of justice degree from Penn State. This time, he is receiving an associate degree in business administration. “Finding the time for classes was a challenge,” said Kirk, a volunteer with Riverside Fire Co. No. 1, where he served as chief while a World Campus student.

Reep will receive his bachelor’s degree in information sciences and technology with highest distinction, in recognition of his 4.0 grade-point average. He completed the degree while working 60 to 70 hours a week as vice president of technology for a South Carolina company, 35 hours a week in Web development for a small firm and caring for wife Kristen and sons Evan, 7, and Aidan, 4. “I was able to fit education into my hectic schedule with the World Campus,” said Reep, who lost his technology job last December, but landed a new position as a programmer/analyst in Penn State’s Eberly College of Science. “I did most of my studying between midnight and 3 a.m.,” added Reep, who is returning to Penn State classes this fall and is considering a master’s degree in computer science and engineering.



(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 02, 2013