by Kelly J. Larson, Austin Area Public Affairs Coordinating Council Media Specialist
REXBURG, Idaho — Savannah Huntsman had never stepped foot on the campus of Brigham Young University-Idaho until the day of her graduation on July 23, 2019. Huntsman, 25, is the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and didn’t want to miss a chance to celebrate, walking the stage to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance with her loved ones watching.
Huntsman graduated from Rouse High School in Leander, Texas, in 2012, then started with the BYU-Pathway program two years later. She continued taking online classes to obtain a bachelor of science in applied management degree. In addition, Huntsman earned an associate’s degree in administrative assistant and office management.
“After I started, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed meeting every week. The classes were more intimate and we all became so much more comfortable with helping each other through the lessons and understanding the concepts,” she added. By the end of the year, Huntsman was sad the program was coming to an end.
“I remember being frustrated with the year-long program before I could begin the actual courses at BYU-I,” Huntsman said, not quite convinced how the Pathway program’s process would be helpful.
Working as a dental assistant throughout most of her college experience meant that Huntsman could only take one or two courses at a time. “My husband is a student at BYU and he had several internships that took us back and forth from Texas to Utah, and my studies were never disrupted with all of our moving,” Huntsman said.
Savannah and her husband, Brad, who will finish a master’s of accounting program in 2020, are expecting their first baby in February.
Alyssa Fink works in a middle school cafeteria in Austin, Texas, and refers to herself as a “lunch lady,” happily preparing and serving food five days a week. “No education is needed, but it is rewarding knowing the kids get fed each day,” she said.
This past year, Fink spent her Thursday nights working to complete Pathway. The worldwide higher education program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a low-cost, flexible way to start a path toward a college degree.
“I am a shy person and wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to it at first because you have to give up all your Thursday evenings,” Fink said. “I went to the first gathering and I was hooked. It was so much fun. The Spirit was so strong there. The people were amazing. I began to look forward to every Thursday.”
Fink can now check the one year, three semester long Pathway program off her to-do list and has her sights on pursuing a bachelor’s degree possibly in web design.
“For anyone who is thinking about furthering their education and hasn’t been in school for a long time or can’t really afford it, this is a great way to start,” Fink said.
The annual registration deadline for BYU Pathway-Worldwide is Sept. 3, 2019. Click HERE to learn more.
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