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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.
Stung by the rejection, Hobgood enrolled in the associate’s degree program at Northern Virginia Community College, which is one of the off-Grounds sites for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) degree. “I had always dreamed about getting a degree from UVA, but it always seemed out of reach,” Hobgood said. “Now I could see a path forward for me.”
Hobgood found the rigor of her first UVA classes a bit of a shock. “It was a big step up from community college,” she said, “but I just rolled up by sleeves and worked harder.” Hobgood rose to the occasion, finishing the program in just two and a half years. An important motivator: she and her husband had decided to start a government contracting company, Triaem. “I felt it would be hard to employ people with doctorates and MBAs if I didn’t have at least a bachelor’s degree.”
When Hobgood had the chance to join the BIS Alumni Board, she jumped at the chance. “I am a very proud alumna,” she says. “And I am very proud that UVA has a program for nontraditional students. Walking the Lawn at graduation was one of the high points in my life. I really wanted to give something back.”