Through long road trips and flights, many Utah State University Online graduates traveled to Utah for commencement in May with their friends and family. This year’s cohort encompassed 28 states, including New York, Texas, Wisconsin, Oregon and one out of the country in Canada. In total, 198 USU Online students graduated in spring 2019.
A total of 38 communicative disorders and deaf education (COMDDE) graduates made the trip to Logan to celebrate with their friends and loved ones at commencement. For most, this was their first time visiting Utah and USU. They were able to meet their cohort and the faculty who taught their courses.
“It was exciting to travel to Logan because it was my first time,” said Issandra Stefan, a 2019 COMDDE graduate. “It was a fun road trip with my husband and our two dogs. After Logan, we took the North-West Pacific route on our way home. In all, it took us 18 days. I’m happy to be done with the program and I feel like there are a lot of opportunities waiting for me.”
Stefan already has a bachelor’s in psychology and has worked in the hospitality industry for many years. She plans on earning a COMDDE master’s to later become a speech-language pathologist.
USU Online strives to create a collaborative environment where students can feel Aggie pride and a sense of community through online connection. The students make up a diverse group who are looking for a way to earn a college degree while navigating their unique challenges and circumstances. To congratulate them on their accomplishment, USU Online mailed college tassels to each graduate and encouraged them to share their photos and stories online.
Veronica Passalaqua, a 2019 COMDDE graduate, was diagnosed with cancer after finishing her first semester of college. Forced to withdraw, she made it through the long road to recovery after multiple surgeries and mental health struggles. Once able, she began working full time and found time for college with USU Online courses.
“I feel like the online delivery was perfect for me,” said Passalaqua. “I worked at my own pace and interact with other peers through discussion posts. My instructors were super good at emailing me back and answering all of my questions.”
On visiting Logan, Passalaqua said, “Logan is definitely a bit different from where I’m from. I’ve never seen a mountain in person. It was cool networking with some of the people I’ve talked to online, my professors and my advisors.”
No matter where students attend, their diploma has the same three renowned words: Utah State University.