Graduation Reception on Hattiesburg Campus Connects Online Students to USM

Graduation Reception on Hattiesburg Campus Connects Online Students to USM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

Alicia Williams recently travelled from Kentwood, La. to The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg along with her mom, Linda Wright, who came from Cushing, Okla. Both women made the trip for Alicia's graduation from the fully online master's degree program in medical laboratory science at Southern Miss.

Williams had been to campus years ago when she was a math teacher. But this time she came at the invitation of the Office of Online Learning for a graduation reception for online students and their families.

Williams was excited about the graduation reception because it made her feel connected to Southern Miss and allowed her to connect faces to names. "As an adult student, your entire family feels your pain going through the challenges of school," said Williams. "It is always nice to be able to celebrate with family."

The road to the Southern Miss online master's degree started when Williams finished her undergraduate degree in medical laboratory science at Louisiana State University. She knew she wanted more. Then she found the fully online master's degree in medical laboratory science at Southern Miss.

While working full time, Williams was able to complete her degree, taking only online courses. "Being able to get my masters degree online was important because it was a personal goal," said Williams. "I was able to learn more about topics in the medical laboratory science field."

Williams recommends other students choose Southern Miss because of the variety of classes and much more. "The online staff were helpful and friendly, faculty are supportive, and it offers a way to complete a degree and work at the same time," she said.

Knowing working full time and going to graduate school can be tough, Williams noted the faculty at Southern Miss reached out to her even though she never came to campus. "Dr. Cynthia Handley was committed to my success," said Williams. "She went out of her way to make personal phone calls and kept in touch with me."

Interim director of the Office of Online Learning, Dr. Tom Hutchinson, says this connection between faculty and online students is at the core of Southern Miss' success in online learning. "Our university is committed to giving online students support," said Hutchinson. "From student success initiatives to services such as the speaking and writing centers, we are always looking to find ways to make online learners part of the Southern Miss experience."

Williams said her visit to campus for the graduation reception was worth the drive "I even plan on getting a USM shirt while I'm here."

To learn more about the online master's degree in medical laboratory science, visit https://online.usm.edu/graduate/medical-laboratory-sciences-ms/.