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Highlighting Students, Alumni Coming Home to UL Lafayette

UL Online -- Fri, 10/22/2021 - 4:26pm

“I wanted to finish what I started, so graduating from UL Lafayette was important to me. I didn’t want to transfer anywhere else.”

-Kailee Marikar, Bachelor of General Studies, 2019

There is no greater sense of pride for us than helping students bridge their dreams and their reality, whether they want to complete their bachelor’s degree, advance their career through a graduate degree or certificate — or both! 

We’re excited to celebrate Homecoming 2021 by highlighting a few of the students and alumni who have come home to UL Lafayette by earning their degrees online.

Even when work or life takes you away from Louisiana, you can come home by earning your degree through UL Lafayette online! We're so glad to be part of your team.

Sidni Shorter, bachelor of General Studies

Sidni Shorter completed her bachelor's degree Spring 2021, and is now pursuing her MBA.Online program: bachelor of General Studies with a concentration in behavioral science 

Grad year: 2021

Current position: CEO

Lagniappe: enrolled in UL Lafayette’s MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship online

Sidni Shorter never gave up on completing her bachelor’s degree at UL Lafayette, she just got extremely busy. In 2019, the CEO spoke with an enrollment coach from the CompeteLA program and found she could complete her degree in General Studies via online classes. 

Once enrolled, Shorter “aggressively jumped in” to the experience, taking eight classes in one fall semester.

And even with a lifetime of business experience and success on her resume, Sidni felt like her classwork was immediately applicable in her career. 

“I have already capitalized on aspects of what I learned from my two business classes last semester,” she says.

Sidni graduated in Spring of this year and is now enrolled in the MBA program with a concentration in Entrepreneurship online.

Read more about Sidni’s journey here.

Donald "DJ" Arceneaux, M.S. in Systems Technology 

USMC veteran Donald “DJ” Arceneaux completed his M.S. in Systems Technology at UL Lafayette online.


Online program: M.S. in Systems Technology

Grad year: 2017

Current position: Industrial Engineer Sr. 

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Donald “DJ” Arceneaux was an established professional in the oil and gas industry when he started in UL Lafayette’s M.S. in Systems Technology program online.

The instability of oil and gas jobs going forward made Arceneaux feel restless. 

“It was a tough time and I was looking for a change,” he says. “It didn’t make sense to continue on what seemed to be a career path that wasn’t advancing in correlation to my abilities and aspirations.”

Donald found he could apply his coursework to a number of industries, including aerospace. He’s now an industrial engineer with Lockheed Martin in Texas.

“It’s very practical knowledge you can use every single day in any industry,” he says. “You really get a full grasp on industry as a whole, especially in manufacturing. You understand quality control, statistical methods, research — you go full-circle with the business.”

Read more about Donald’s experience in the M.S. in Systems Technology program online.

Alexis Black, RN-to-BSN; MS Nursing; Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing

RN Alexis Black came back to complete her Bachelor's degree and is now earning her M.S. in Nursing.Online Program: RN-to-BSN; MS Nursing; Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing 

Grad year: 2016; 2021

Current Position: Critical Care Nurse

Alexis Black had been an RN for more than 20 years when she was ready and able to enroll at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to complete her B.S. in Nursing online in 2016. 

“I felt like, I'm accomplishing this goal, but that's not where I want to stop — I don't want that to be the end,” she says.

Black immediately came back in 2017 to start on her M.S. in Nursing and her Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing. 

“I'm now looking at the whole patient,” Black says. “I'm more knowledgeable on how to treat the whole person rather than just one acute event.”

Learn more about the nursing education opportunities offered through the University online and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Zachary Badon, B.S. in Business Administration in Management

Zachary Badon enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette online and is completing his degree in B.S.B.A. in Management.

Online Program: B.S.B.A. in Management 

Grad Year: 2021

Current Position: Training coordinator/HR representative; owner of Riceville Rods 

In 2005, Zachary Badon set out to become the first college graduate in his family. Unfortunately, injuries and recovery from a car accident diverted his plans. 

Badon went into the workforce full time, built a life with his wife, became a father, and climbed the ranks at an oilfield services company. But Zachary’s unfinished degree hung over his head. 

“I always told myself I would go back for my grandmother, who was my biggest fan while in school,” he says.

In 2020, he went looking for a way to finish his degree without taking time off work and found UL Lafayette’s online programs. Since enrolling in the B.S. in Business Administration in Management, Badon has been able to use what he’s learned about leadership as a training coordinator and to build his small business, Riceville Rods, where he makes custom fishing rods.

Read more about Zachary on our blog.

Kailee Marikar, bachelor of General Studies 

Kailee Marikar was about to finish her bachelor's degree online with UL Lafayette.

Online Program: Bachelor of General Studies

Grad year: 2018

Current Position: Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at UT Austin, ‘22

Kailee Marikar began her undergraduate career as an enthusiastic and increasingly accomplished student and researcher, but health issues forced her to move home to Texas and recuperate. 

In 2017, Kailee discovered she could enroll in the Bachelor of General Studies program online and finish her degree in less than a year. 

“I knew that the semester would be incredibly challenging, but I finished the semester strong with the support of my friends, family, and teachers,” she said.

Since completing her bachelor’s degree online, Kailee has reached milestone after milestone on her way to becoming a Doctor of Pharmacy.

Read more about Kailee’s journey here.

Robbie Watson, MBA with a concentration in Project Management

UL Lafayette MBA online alum Robbie Watson pictured with his wife overlooking a cliffside,Online Program: MBA with concentration in Project Management

Grad year: 2019

Current Position: Domain Architect

Robbie Watson earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UL Lafayette in 2003. When he was ready to earn his graduate degree, he says the University was a natural choice. 

"Having earned my undergrad there, I see the reputation UL Lafayette has. People respect my degree. It is a well-known university. Plus, it was my alma mater. It was the perfect fit."

How'd he manage working full time with his online MBA courses? 

"I treated it as a second job. I looked at it like we have instructors and we have coaches, but it’s ultimately up to me to be successful. I set time aside every day — even if it’s 4 o’clock in the morning. I did what it takes to get it done."

Learn more about the MBA program online through the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration →

Megan Breaux, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Specialist concentration

Megan Breaux, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction graduate

Online Program: M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, Instructional Specialist Concentration

Grad year: 2017

Current Position: Partnership and Data Coordinator for LPSS GEAR UP

Lagniappe: Doctoral candidate, Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration

After earning bachelor's degrees in English and psychology from UL Lafayette, Megan Breaux returned by enrolling online in the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Breaux says through her online master's in education program, she earned the credentials she wanted and gained the community she needed. 

“I was able to make strong connections with my professors and with my cohort. In fact, I still talk to many of the people from cohort," she says. "The professors gave us opportunities to work together, and that lead to some amazing connections.”

Read more from our earlier conversation with Megan.