After attaining a B.S. in exercise physiology, an M.A. in health studies and a B.S. in nursing, Leysa Karas is now pursuing her next degree entirely online.
by Suzanne Bopp
Having earned three degrees from Adelphi University—a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, an M.A. in Health Studies and a B.S. in Nursing—Leysa Karas ’94, ’03, M.A. ’98, is not done yet. She’s close to completing her next degree: an M.S. in Healthcare Informatics that she’s earning online through University College. Anticipating completion in December, Karas will be among the first students to earn the degree entirely online from Adelphi.
As she began the program, Karas was concerned about having the discipline required to keep up with the coursework each week in the online environment. “I learned really quickly I just had to have a routine for it,” she said. “You have to set aside that time and be really structured.”
She’s also found that the pacing of the online coursework suits her.
“What I really like about the experience is that you take one class at a time for a shorter period of time,” she said. “You’re just immersed in one subject for eight weeks.”
The benefits of the online program are evident, with greater flexibility and no geographical ties. Karas had relocated to Rhode Island but still wanted to continue her education with Adelphi. Taking courses online made that possible but didn’t mean she got an easier ride.
According to University College Dean Shawn O’Riley, the virtual classroom isn’t free of the demands of earning an advanced degree.
“It’s a tremendous achievement for the students,” he said. “Just because the courses are online does not mean the students don’t go through the same pressures, stress and challenges that our on-campus students go through. As with all degree programs, it can be a challenge to balance college, work and life successfully and these students have done so with great success.”
Building the online program meant a lot of work for Adelphi’s already busy administration, faculty and staff, Dr. O’Riley added.
“This is the realization of several years of work,” he said. “Countless hours of planning, course design, digital media production, student support services effort and countless hours in the classroom from our dedicated faculty have led us to this first successful cohort. It shows how Adelphi is always willing and able to meet the emerging needs of students and our community.”
A native New Yorker, Karas had attended several other colleges around the Northeast before coming to Adelphi and completing her first B.S. After that, Adelphi felt like a natural choice for her next two degrees.
When she decided to pursue her M.S., Karas searched for online programs she could complete while keeping her full-time job. She considered other schools, including Duke and the University of Chicago, but chose to return to Adelphi after deciding it offered the best curriculum for her.
As she nears the end of this degree she said she’s happy with her choice and is already eyeing the possibility of a Ph.D.
“It’s working out really well,” she said. “Although you’re not in a physical classroom, you’re definitely in a classroom community—I communicate with my classmates all the time, even things that have nothing to with school. I feel the same kind of structure I had going to school, and maybe even more because I know I have to push myself.”
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