With a partner in the military, Rachel Radke knew she might not be in one place long enough to finish her degree. She needed a program with enough flexibility to allow her to work, move, and care for her young daughter. She wanted a program that would value her as a student while preparing her for a career in community health.
“UL Lafayette was the only program that I felt was a competent online program,” says Radke. “I found a lot of online programs that really just seemed like, ‘Hey, sign up and give us your money, and we'll give you a degree,’ and I didn't want that. I wanted to learn, and I wanted to be in a program that seemed like its main goal was to educate its students.”
Radke enrolled in UL Lafayette’s online Health Promotion and Wellness program. The program prepares students to become certified leaders in community, corporate, and public health.
As she pursued her degree, Radke moved back to her hometown of Edmeston, New York, where she had to manage her coursework while working full time as a single mother.
With so much on her plate, keeping up with her coursework required vigilance.
“I downloaded the syllabus for every course and checked every single day just made sure I wasn't missing anything, and I was getting done what needed to be done,” she says. “I had to keep myself on task and make sure I reminded myself of my end goal and the reason why I was getting my degree. That pushed me to make sure I got things done on time.”
But even the most focused students need support, and Radke says her instructors made clear they were available to help.
“I had professors actually give a cell phone number for if you had questions when you were trying to work through problems, and you could talk to them at any time. So, they were all very available for the most part. If they weren't going to be around for some reason, we always knew well in advance.”
When she and her then-2-year-old daughter had to evacuate for a hurricane, instructors worked with her to make up her coursework. When her work schedule meant she wouldn’t be able to meet a deadline, Radke says she was able to reschedule by communicating with her instructors.
“I think the best experiences I had with UL Lafayette were with the teachers,” Radke says.
“In the Health Promotion and Wellness Program, they are very passionate about what they're doing. They're not just spitting out facts. They always go out of their way to help you understand anything you might not understand, and they go above and beyond and helping you move on, further your career or better understand aspects of health and wellness.”
Radke completed her degree in two years, graduating in May 2020. Her goal now is to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and cultivate a career in rural health research and education, taking the knowledge she developed at UL Lafayette into graduate school.
"My bachelor’s gave me a really good foundation,” she says, “and I wanted to move into the master’s level to home in on the specialties that I’d like to do.”
If you’re passionate about helping others lead healthier lives, there’s a place for you at UL Lafayette. Request information today about the online Health Promotion and Wellness program and take the first step toward earning your bachelor’s degree.