Student & Faculty Stories

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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