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WGU Graduate Speaker, Leila Crouse, Winter 2009

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Leila Crouse, Winter 2009
Western Governors University
<p>Leila Crouse, a public health educator from Southern California, was able to complete her Masters degree online through Western Governors University while working full time and caring for a family of six. Selected to speak at the WGU Winter Commencement, Crouse shares her experiences and talks about the benefits of earning her degree online through WGU.</p> <p>Leila Crouse earned her Master of Science, Health Education degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Can everyone see me? [Laughter] I'm going to calm my nerves by saying hi to my four kids over there and my husband. Good morning fellow graduates, parents, faculty and guests. Thank you for all coming here today, especially those of you've traveled the distance. Nevertheless I must say Salt Lake City's beauty is worth the trip. This event is a special time for all of us. All the graduates have worked hard to get here and we're finally done. Whoo hoo.</p> <p>We also want to take this special time to recognize family and friends for their support and patience. I am very honored to be giving this speech, although I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to say. I decided I would tell you what the school has meant to me and about my experience that brought me here today. Many of us come from different backgrounds and we're all here for one purpose, to earn our education and achieve higher degrees. </p> <p>My personal story is one of a full-time working professional mother of four who returned to school after many years. The comment I most often received during my graduate studies was I don't know how you do it. Although graduate school was a big deal for me personally, I didn't think too much of it, but I realized that in our society it is still not the norm for older working married adults to go back to college. Although adult education is a growing trend and full of many success stories, people still find it above and beyond. We would all like to have finished all our schooling before marriage and family, but like myself and many others who are here today, for whatever reasons our paths took us in different directions. </p> <p>I received my undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara in 1993 in sociology and law. At this point in my life I was burnt out of school and declared I would never go back to school again, very different from Scott. I was also first generation in my family to accomplish this degree so it was more than enough. Next it was time to find a job and a career. I started in social services working with abused children and moved on as a health educator with the Department of Public Health. Currently I'm working at the community college as a health educator with our future young adults and my career continues to be rewarding.</p> <p>As my career developed and my passion for work grew stronger, I was growing professionally and personally as well. I started to crave knowledge in my field and I wanted to go back to school, and this was six to eight years after undergraduate school, so I learned never say never guys. But the thought of going back to school was not an easy one especially because those four kids and my husband were my priority. It's taken me fourteen years to go back to school. Distance education was new. There were many obstacles. </p> <p>For one instance, my employer at the time did not want to accept a degree from distance education and preferred traditional schools because they were not up to date with new online programs. This was discouraging, but I decided to take my chances as I found many other companies and individuals successfully applying new cutting-edge online programs. In my search, I found many programs, but I had many common uncertainties and fears that we all share, such as accreditation, tuition costs, hours of commute, time away from home and work. The decision was challenging.</p> <p>I did find one online program that seem realistic, but it ended in disappointment. I learned distance education as we all have learned requires a higher level of discipline, strong time management, organizational skills, and commitment and support. That's when I found Western Governors University on an online search. I found it unique with a mentoring and competency based features. It was too good to be true. Without a doubt it's been hard work, but today's event confirms it was well worth the ride. We are often told that education will open doors and because of my master's degree, today my career has already experienced new, unexpected opportunities and has truly made the hard work meaningful.</p> <p>Finally, there are lasting memories. To be able to take a class or complete papers with my three year old sitting on my lap, or to have my older children learn that Mommy had to pass on a great movie or a weekend outing to finish schoolwork, or to trade in date nights with my husband for late night reading and studying. Today this event is especially important to me for my children to witness that all things are possible, you simply have to just go for it guys.</p> <p>WGU made our educational goals attainable. The mentors are so vital to keep us guided, motivated, supported, accountable and some of the best people we will ever meet. More importantly, WGU programs are credible and valid for our professional and educational needs. </p> <p>In closing, today we acknowledge our hard work and accomplishments. We have reached a turning point in our life. For some, this will be the end of formal education. Others will continue into their current careers or new endeavors. For others, this is simply the beginning process for their continuing education. Whatever venue we choose to pursue, there will be rewards to gain, challenges to face, and opportunities to encounter. We and our children are the future of this country and this world. We must always keep new ideas, new goals and ambitions to sustain our place and offer continuous improvements in our ever changing world. Whatever life brings you, always remember the future is what you make it. </p> <p>Thank you Western Governors University. Thank you my mentors, Dr. Malia Stevens and Dr. Martinique Kumu, and thank you to my husband David, and my kids Sean, Noah, and Bella and Eva. Congratulations fellow graduates. God bless you all and thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)