Alumni Update – Shamikia Furlow, bachelor of arts in criminal justice administration

We interview Furlow one year after she received her degree to see how it had affected her life.
Furlow earned her bachelor’s degree with Columbia College of Missouri–Lake County in October 2008. We caught up with her one year later to find out how she has benefited from her degree. Read the interview below to find out:

1) Why did you want to complete a bachelor’s degree?
My family and close friends were one motivating factor. They instilled in me a desire to pursue higher education. In addition, I knew that no matter what happens in life, no one can take your education away from you. The knowledge I would gain and the pride I would feel would stay with me forever. Finally, I wanted to complete my degree because I knew it would benefit me in my career goal of becoming a probation officer.

2) Why did you choose Columbia College-Lake County?
Columbia College offers accelerated classes, hands-on learning, and instructors who are employed in, or retired from, the fields they teach about. The convenient location was also a factor.

3) How have you benefited from your bachelor’s degree?
Since completing my degree I have felt increased self-satisfaction, pride, and a determination to continue my education by pursuing a master’s degree. Unfortunately, the current economy is making my career transition difficult, but I know my degree will make me an excellent candidate for a position as a probation officer once an opportunity becomes available.

4) Tell us about an important concept or lesson that was covered in one of your classes. How have you applied this information, either personally or professionally?
Scott Burleson, one of my criminal justice instructors, always began his classes by telling us, “Being open minded to things that are unknown to you will help you learn new things faster.” I have definitely applied this philosophy to both my professional and personal life.

5) Tell us about an instructor who had a positive impact on you, either personally or professionally.
Scott Burleson, Gus Stieber, Stephen Scheller, and Dr. Michael Fletcher all had a positive impact on me. Mr. Burleson showed me that reading your text book really is a good way to gain insight into and understanding of the material being covered. He also encouraged me to view problems from all angles, and remain open minded. Mr. Stieber was a realist in my eyes, and always made me think outside the box. Mr. Scheller would often state, “What you think may be hard is just that easy;” a philosophy that always proved itself to be true. Finally, Dr. Fletcher instilled in me that “Knowing your role in life will make things much easier.” All of these instructors made the impossible, possible in my eyes.

6) What advice do you have for students who are considering pursuing their bachelor’s degree with Columbia College?
I would say “Just do it!” There is no greater joy than knowing you were able to complete a bachelor’s degree. The pride you feel is priceless. With the help of great advisors, great instructors, and the support of your fellow students, your desire to make it to that finish line will continue to increase. You will also benefit from the diversity of people, lifestyles, and professions you will be exposed to. Now who wouldn’t want to pursue an education like that?