Student & Faculty Stories

Alice Schmidt

Program
Post-Bac Pre-Med

Becoming a physician would give me the opportunity to learn more while giving back to other people.

In 2008 and 2012, Alice Schmidt represented the United States in the Olympics, but she knew that her days as a world-class competitor were finite. For her, the logical choice was to become a physician. “I spent my career around coaches, trainers, and physicians who knew a lot about how the body works,” she says.

More about Alice Schmidt

Alyce Brookfield

Program
Post-Bac Pre-Med

I felt that the directors really understood what it takes to prepare a student for medical school.

Alyce Brookfield's heartfelt commitment to education led her to medicine. A trip to South Africa made her realize that good health is a prerequisite for learning. That's when she decided to become a physician.

More about Alyce Brookfield

Ana Abad-Jorge

Faculty
Program
Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management
Certificate in Health Sciences Management

My own experience confirms my belief in the importance of education and lifelong learning.

Ana Abad-Jorge has always been passionate about being an educator. When she was in college, her goal was to become a high school science teacher, but when she graduated, she chose instead to pursue a career in clinical nutrition and dietetics. Upon completing her master’s degree, she became a pediatric nutritionist and registered dietitian.

More about Ana Abad-Jorge

Angela Mosley

Program
Post-Bac Pre-Med

The interview was like nothing else I had gone through.

Seeing health care disparities first hand, Angela Mosley decided to pursue a career in medicine. UVa's Post-Bac Pre-Med Program was one of five programs she considered.

More about Angela Mosley

Angela Orebaugh

Faculty
Program
Certificate in Cyber Security Management
Certificate in Information Technology

I was looking to make a transition that reflected my evolving interests. The School gave me a great opportunity to do that.

Angela Orebaugh epitomizes the School’s commitment to select certificate faculty members who combine impressive work resumes with expertise in the classroom. Orebaugh, who holds a master of science in computer science from James Madison University and a Ph.D. in information technology from George Mason University, spent over 20 years in industry, starting as a database programmer.

More about Angela Orebaugh

Bryan Garey

Program
Business & Professional Studies courses

It’s hard for adult learners to throw themselves back into a learning environment. SCPS provides a way for them to do that.

Bryan Garey understands the importance of professional development. He's responsible for providing learning opportunities for UVa faculty and staff so they can be successful in their jobs. When Bryan needed coursework to finish his master’s degree, he turned to SCPS.

More about Bryan Garey

Caitlin Mulligan

Program
Post-Bac Pre-Med

What really made a difference for me is the quality of advising and the individual support you receive.

A major career switch led Caitlin Mulligan to the Post Bac Pre-Med program. Wall Street could not compete with her drive to serve others.

More about Caitlin Mulligan

Carl Schwab

Program
Certificate in Project Management

Because the program was organized asynchronously, you could always find time in your schedule to complete your assignments.

Carl Schwab oversees an eight-person project management office for the Navy Federal Credit Union, the world's largest credit union. The Certificate in Project Management helped Carl pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. He now attributes his success and credibility within his organization to the program.

More about Carl Schwab

Celeste Greene

Faculty
Program
Certificate in Public Administration

It's great to hear from former students that our courses really helped their careers.

Celeste Greene is not afraid to innovate. As program director for the School’s graduate Certificates in Project Management, Leadership, and Public Administration, Greene helps faculty take full advantage of online technology. “It’s come a long way,” she says. “Today, you can deliver classes that have the immediacy of face-to-face instruction.”

More about Celeste Greene

Charlie Feigenoff

Program
Community Scholar

I initially felt self-conscious...when I began to recover my old study habits, I started to relax and really have fun.

Charlie Feigenoff decided that it was time to recommit to his French skills before they were lost forever. As a Community Scholar, Charlie got a chance to regain his French and learn new material.

More about Charlie Feigenoff

Clifton Jones

Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

BIS has given me the opportunity to make my education more closely match what I want to do in life.

In retrospect, Clifton Jones sees his initial attempt at a UVA education as a false start. After sticking with it as long as he could, he left the University in his third year. Now, as a BIS student, Jones is back on track to receive his UVA degree.

More about Clifton Jones

David Martin

Program
Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Human Resources Management

The program covers a range of key issues for aspiring HR managers, from transformational leadership to strategic compensation.

For David Martin, the certificate proved to be a stepping-stone to further his education, thanks to the graduate transfer partnership that SCPS established with Hollins University.

More about David Martin

Debbie Spear

Program
Graduate Certificate in Procurement and Contracts Management

If you want to stay in this field, the UVA procurement and contracts management certificate is a great place to start.

Debbie Spear found the UVA courses to be both in-depth and very helpful. She credits them with helping her career get off the ground.

More about Debbie Spear

Eric Wiegand

Program
Certificate in Certified Financial Planning

The faculty's real-life examples stuck with me, making it easier to remember key ideas when preparing for the CFP exam.

Eric Wiegand enrolled in the Certificate in Certified Financial Planning because it afforded him the flexibility he needed to balance work, home, and school. Thanks to the program, he passed the CFP exam on the first try.

More about Eric Wiegand

Erin Crum

Program
Community Scholar

When you enroll in a course at SCPS, you never know where it’s going to lead.

“It was John’s course that ignited my passion for photography,” she says. “It was a critical step in getting me to where I am now.”

More about Erin Crum

Fan Gao

Faculty
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

Students at BIS have fulfilled my expectations. They are really engaged and ask very good questions.

Fan Gao realized she had a vocation for working with adult learners as a doctoral student in interpersonal communication and psychology at Northwestern University. When Gao learned about the opening for a faculty member in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program, she jumped at the opportunity, seeing a way to combine her interests in adult learning and psychology.

More about Fan Gao

Fran Bossi

Class Year
2016
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

“When I came to UVA, it was time to finish my degree because it was something I regretted not having done when I was younger.

Fran Bossi always wanted to complete her undergraduate degree, but was busy running a small media business with her husband for 26 years and raising three children along the way. When they sold the business and she came to work for UVA in 2008, she saw an opportunity--the BIS degree program.

More about Fran Bossi

Fran Marshall

Program
Certificate in Accounting

The instructors did an excellent job of communicating their enthusiasm for material that might otherwise be dry.

Fran Marshall knew she needed additional training to take the next step in her career. Now a finance manager, she credits the Certificate in Accounting with helping her pass the CPA exam.

More about Fran Marshall

Jason Woodle

Class Year
2015
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I wanted to be an example to my son in real time and hopefully inspire him later to do something similar.

Jason Woodle was missing something: a college degree. Inspired by his toddler son and wife he chose the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program. He viewed the program as a second opportunity and he succeeded. After balancing life as a husband, stay-at-home dad, and full-time student he walked the Lawn in 2015.

More about Jason Woodle

Jerry Reid

Class Year
2014
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I was determined to have as typical an undergraduate experience as possible.

Jerry Reid had always wanted to attend the University of Virginia, and realized his dream to be the ultimate Wahoo.

More about Jerry Reid

Jesús Pino

Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

You get all the services you would expect from a university like this. It is amazing.

Every student has his or her own story, but Jesús Pino Aguilar’s is exceptional in that it encompasses not just a change of careers, but also a change of continents.

More about Jesús Pino

Jim Simos

Faculty
Program
Certified Financial Planning

By teaching financial planning, I'm giving my students the opportunity to similarly impact their clients’ lives.

Jim Simos tends to downplay his considerable experience. “I like to tell people I have a diversified business background,” he says. “But what that really means is that I have had four or five unrelated careers.” Regardless of how you count, Simos’ background adds up to a big plus for students in the School’s Certified Financial Planning preparatory certificate program. Of the first 28 students who completed the certificate program, 28 passed the CFP® exam on their first try.

More about Jim Simos

Joanna Moore

Program
Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program

When I came for the interview, I felt right at home.

After completing her master’s in public health from Emory University, Joanna Moore took a job as a statistician at the Institute for Surgical Research (ISR) at San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center. At the time, she knew almost nothing about the military, but the daily contact she had with wounded warriors changed her life. She didn't know then that her journey would lead her to the Post-Bac Pre-Med program.

More about Joanna Moore

Joceline Nahigian

Program
Certificate in Public Administration

Thanks to the program, I feel more confident pursuing positions of more responsibility knowing that I can meet the challenge.

Joceline Nahigian describes herself as “one of those people who really want to make a difference.” She decided that public service with the U.S. Department of Energy was her way of having the most impact. To increase her effectiveness even more, Nahigian enrolled in UVa’s graduate Certificate in Public Administration.

More about Joceline Nahigian

Jody Knowles

Class Year
2017
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I've grown intellectually. You come into a program such as this with ideas about things. The program challenged my ideas...

College can be better the second time around. It was for Jody Knowles who will graduate May 21 from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) degree, with highest distinction.

More about Jody Knowles

John McCarthy

Faculty
Program
Graduate Certificate in Leadership
Human Resources Management
Procurement and Contracts Management

I’m proud to be part of an organization that recognizes veterans and the sacrifices they have made.

Veteran and faculty member John McCarthy is proud to be a part of an organization that recognizes veterans and the sacrifices they have made. He's also proud of the students he teaches in his courses in the School’s graduate certificate programs in leadership, human resources management, and procurement and contracts management.

More about John McCarthy

Julia McDonald

Program
Certificate in Leadership in Human Resources Management

The certificate program has been incredibly helpful and has reenergized how I think about my career.

Sometimes it takes a while to find a fulfilling career path, but, as Julia McDonald discovered, if you pay attention to the issues that arouse your curiosity, you’ll likely head in the right direction.

More about Julia McDonald

Julie May

Faculty
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I enjoy stepping out of my intellectual comfort zone, and I encourage my students to join me.

Julie May describes herself as the quintessential lifelong learner. That’s one of the attractions for her of her chosen field—art history. “Art history gives you a window into virtually any subject,” she says. “You can use it to shed light on subjects like economics, politics, or religion, and you invariably learn something new.”

More about Julie May

Justin Chik

Program
Certificate in Cyber Security Management

All the material we used was current...it provided the foundation I needed to begin building a career in cyber security.

Justin Chik knew that UVa would offer the high-quality education that he wanted to expand his skills in Cyber Security Management. Instructors in the online program provided timely and relevant material, with expert guest speakers and hands-on experiences.

More about Justin Chik

Karen Hennessee

Class Year
2013
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

Study abroad during January term was one of the best educational decisions I have ever made.

For Hennessee, the J-Term class epitomized the opportunities for personal growth that are at the heart of the BIS experience.

More about Karen Hennessee

Kelli Palmer

Program
Noncredit certificates and courses

How fun is it to be a learner for the sake of learning...SCPS makes that possible.

As Kelli Palmer sees it, knowledge is a way to merge her personal interests with her career. When her career demands a new skill set she seeks personal and professional development from SCPS.

More about Kelli Palmer

Lee Spitzer

Program
Post-Bac Pre-Med

While the program is necessarily rigorous, the directors go out of their way to help you master the material.

After earning a Ph.D. in English, Lee Spitzer was inspired to enroll in the Post-Bac Pre-Med program after working with cancer patients and caregivers through a creative writing program he developed at Washington University’s Siteman Cancer Center.

More about Lee Spitzer

Marion Dobbins

Class Year
2012
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

When I was accepted into BIS, it was a dream come true.

For most of her adult life, Marion Dobbins had set her heart on earning a degree from the University of Virginia—but her first priority has always been her family.

More about Marion Dobbins

Marisela Perez

Class Year
2017
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

It’s very important to me to set an example for my three children.

First-generation BIS student Marisela Perez, balanced a career and family life while fulfilling her dream of earning a bachelor's degree.

More about Marisela Perez

Michelle Linnekin

Class Year
2013
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

The experience of working at a shelter while a BIS student helped me make up my mind to go on and pursue a nursing degree.

After serving hundreds of successful Charlottesville lawyers and business people, Michelle Linnekin decided it was time for her to do something different with her life. She enrolled at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), completed her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) prerequisites, and was admitted into the program.

More about Michelle Linnekin

Molly Mimier

Program
Certificates in Project Management and Procurement and Contracts Management

My professors all work during the day in contract and project management, so their courses were highly relevant and up to date.

Molly Mimier knew she needed to acquire more skills to fulfill her passion for helping others. She earned two certificates--Project Management and Procurement and Contracts Management and spent time working in Peru helping to protect the environment.

More about Molly Mimier

Nammy Lee

Faculty
Program
Certificate in Accounting

Each learner’s history and experiences affect their learning style and pace.

As an assistant professor, Nammy Lee sees herself as a facilitator, helping students master the intricacies of accounting and meet their professional goals. As an administrator, she has a different purpose. The director of the School’s Certificate in Accounting, Lee is a community builder, bringing the program’s faculty together to exchange ideas and advance its quality. Both roles are expressions of her long-term passion for adult education.

More about Nammy Lee

Phil Kleinheinz

Class Year
2014
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I always thought I would finish my coursework...but I didn’t know how. I needed a part-time program that met at night.

Phil Kleinheinz always knew he would achieve the goal he started 30 years ago. Thanks to the BIS program and the UVA educational benefit he finished what he started and received his bachelor's degree. He has performed so well during his second stint in college that he had been elected to the Raven Society and inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society.

More about Phil Kleinheinz

Rashida Biggs

Faculty
Program
Certificate in Health Sciences Management
Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management

I like bringing in real-world examples of issues hospitals are facing and challenging students to solve them.

Rashida Biggs is driven by the desire to help people master the knowledge and competencies they need to advance their careers.

More about Rashida Biggs

Sallie Anthony

Program
Certificate in eMarketing

What I like... is that it’s not about writing papers, but learning skills and techniques that can help you do your job better.

Driven to expand her knowledge in her field, Sallie Anthony found the Certificate in e-Marketing just what she needed to advance in her career.

More about Sallie Anthony

Sara Teaster

Class Year
2009
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

If I hadn't had the flexibility to take classes in the other UVA schools, I don't think I would be in the position I am in now.

When Sara Teaster entered UVA's master's program in Urban and Environmental Planning in fall 2009, she felt well equipped to take on the challenge, thanks to the experiences she gained while earning her BIS degree.

More about Sara Teaster

Stephanie Dubaniewicz

Program
Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management

Thanks to the BPHM program, I am in a better position to contribute to my organization and to advance.

Changing careers can be a stressful, but Stephanie Dubaniewicz is managing the transition successfully, thanks to the energy she is applying to the task and the methodical approach she is taking to building a new future. Completing the School’s Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management program is a key element in this plan.

More about Stephanie Dubaniewicz

Stephen Levine

Faculty
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

It is extremely energizing to teach adult students, especially the highly motivated students in our program.

Stephen Levine likes to play the blues—so much so that he is part of an acoustic blues duo—Dr Levine and the Dreaded Blues Lady. But when he talks about the School’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program, he sounds far from blue. “It’s a remarkable program for remarkable people,” he says.

More about Stephen Levine

Steven Soares

Faculty
Program
Graduate Certificate in Project Management 

As a teacher, you have to decide where you want to take your students and guide them along that path...

Taking an online class from Veteran Steven Soares is an immersive experience, thanks to his own desire to learn and his passion for teaching others.

More about Steven Soares

Tim Nicely

Program
Certificate in Leadership

I apply the knowledge I gained virtually everyday.

Seasoned HR manager, Tim Nicely, was looking for an opportunity to enhance his knowledge in management and finance. The Certificate in Leadership allowed him to gain the skills he needed while earning a valuable credential.

More about Tim Nicely

Tim Wagner

Class Year
2014
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I thought that getting my degree was just going to be work. As it turns out, I really loved school.

In some ways, Tim Wagner’s success was his undoing. The founder and president of a flourishing association management and publishing company, he logs 100,000 miles of air travel each year serving a growing client list.

More about Tim Wagner

Tommy Rappold

Program
Post-Bac Pre-Med

At every step of the way … UVa’s Post-Bac faculty and staff were welcoming and ready with insightful and helpful advice.

As a student at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Tommy Rappold is pursuing his dream of a meaningful life.

More about Tommy Rappold

Tori Hobgood

Class Year
2013
Program
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

I had always dreamed about getting a degree from UVA, but it always seemed out of reach.

Tori Hobgood suspected that without a college degree, her prospects were limited. Her suspicions were more than confirmed when an interviewer from a global consulting company told her that, despite her extensive work experience, he could never recommend her for a government contract with just a high school diploma.

More about Tori Hobgood

Tracie Craner

Program
National Criminal Justice Command College

I had already gone through leadership training. The Command College helps you take your skills to the next level.

Tracie Craner's decision to attend the National Criminal Justice Command College is the latest example of her efforts to extend her proficiency as an officer and a manager.

More about Tracie Craner

Victor Mitchell

Program
NCJCC

The knowledge I gained from the Command College helps me every day as a bureau commander.

A year after Victor Mitchell completed the NCJCC, he was promoted to lieutenant. The Command College went a long way in helping him achieve that goal.

More about Victor Mitchell