To Dorsey Steamer, one thing counts more than all the records she set in softball and track at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the 1990s. She is proudest of her diploma, earned in 2016 when she took two final courses through online studies, some 23 years after her student days ended.
“For me to have that on my wall made all the difference in the world, because they changed my life,” said Steamer, who has always counted herself as a Ragin’ Cajun.
She is now a special education teacher for kindergarten through fourth grade pupils in the Brazosport Independent School District in Freeport, Texas, her native city. She coached softball in that district for years but switched to special education to spend more time with her three sons; one is a high school senior, and her twins are sophomores.
Steamer was a star athlete for the Ragin’ Cajuns and should have graduated in 1993, but she was missing a few credits. She had moved on to coach at the college level and played softball professionally. Then in 2014, she got back in touch with UL Lafayette to see if she could finish her degree.
Only two courses stood between Steamer and her diploma. She took advantage of online courses and earned her bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus in behavioral sciences.
She liked studying online. “That is the best thing they ever came up with,” she said. “It was so important to have UL Lafayette on my bachelor’s degree, but I didn’t have to go back to campus. I could still be here to watch my boys grow up. I was able to put it on my plate and keep going.”
Her advice to anyone thinking of online study? “Pick up the phone, call a counselor, and get the ball moving. They are going to help you put everything in place.”