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This weekend, more than 2,000 graduates will walk in UCís fall 2013 commencement, including Jacqueline Ottaviani, who flew in from Jensen Beach, Fla., to receive her degree.
Ottaviani will receive her diploma in health information management as part of a distance learning program in the College of Allied Health Sciences. She pursued her degree after a long career at Stuartís Martin Health System, where she has worked in customer service, billing, health information management and, currently, as a clinical analyst.
She says the program allowed her to focus on school and completing her degree while maintaining her position. Her husband, David, is coming to the commencement, with the rest of her family and kids, watching on the live stream.
What led you to choose UC?
"When I started my job 18 years ago, school was not on my mind. After a while, I decided that a medical terminology course would be a good thing. We had tuition reimbursement then, which helped me make my decision about going back to school. I then took a coding class, then another class. I decided that I wanted to be a coder.
"But after my got my associateís degree, I wasnít doneóI wanted more. By this time, I knew I didnít want to be a certified coder, but I wasnít sure. The local state college wanted me to take more academic classes. I tried with an algebra class, but withdrew because I ended up being in a class with a bunch of high school students and it seemed that the instructor catered to them.
"About 18 months later, I saw an ad on line in For the Record, a magazine for health information professionals. I researched more and called UC. The recruiter was great! It was more expensive than the state college, but I didnít have to leave my home and it seemed very structured and straightforward.Ē
How did you balance work and school?
"I would say for 17 years I have balanced school, work and home life. My kids were in elementary school when I started taking classes. They are now both in college. I will be graduating before them.
"Because of my personal experiences in work, home and school, they really have not had a choice in not going to college!Ē
Did distance learning have any surprises, good or bad for you?
"My distance learning experience was awesome. I could travel and still do homework, be online, or participate in the discussion boards. My experience was wonderful.Ē
For me, there was no reason not to do this program. The two and half years went by so fast and now I have my bachelors. My experience through UC was wonderful.Ē