eVersity Inspires and Enables Student’s Drive Toward a Degree

The first time Sarah Stashuk applied to the University of Arkansas System eVersity it was for a job, for which she was denied due to her lack of a degree. The second time she applied, it was to get that degree.

“Back in September of 2017, I was looking at job opportunities across the country and one thing that popped up was eVersity, which was looking for a marketing director,” she said with a chuckle. “So I reached out to the recruiter for that job and said, ‘I think I’m overqualified in terms of experience, but I don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Do you think it’s even worth it for me to apply?’ She said, ‘Sure, why not?’ I got an autoreply that said, ‘You don’t meet our minimum requirements because you don’t have a bachelor’s degree.’”

The message sparked a light for Stashuk, who’d spent 20 years in the working world, a good portion of it in marketing, about the value of having a degree on your resume. She enrolled in eVersity in January 2018 and graduated last April with a degree in university studies.

“I would say that eVersity is really the best decision that I ever made to go ahead and finish my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I found that eVersity made it extremely easy for me to do that. They offer amazing customer service supporting their students. They make it much more affordable and simpler to do.”

Stashuk said finishing her degree has paid dividends personally, professionally and practically and that positive impact is only going to grow. After completing her degree through eVersity, Stashuk was accepted to the MBA program at SMU in Dallas, one of the top schools of business in the country.

“My eVersity experience gave me confidence and it gave me back the joy of learning,” she said. “Once I got my degree, that immediately opened up new opportunities for the future. It allows me to be a better business owner and a better contributor to society because of the new knowledge I have gained.”

Growing up in the household that she did, you wouldn’t think that a college degree would have been as long in the making for Stashuk as it turned out to be. Canada-born and Little Rock-raised, she’s the product of a Harvard-educated dad and ophthalmologist/eye surgeon mother. In the late 1990s she was attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on a full scholarship, part of the Donaghey Scholars Program. But three-and-a-half years in, the story took an unexpected turn.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do because I was so young, but I decided I would become a doctor,” she said of her college days. “The further I went into the sciences, the less I was really enjoying them. I just wasn’t doing as well as I needed to in order to get into medical school. And, I was having some medical problems myself, so I ended up losing my scholarship.”

Pursuing her degree with eVersity was a much different experience, she said. Not only did she enjoy the curriculum, but the format fit well with her busy life as an entrepreneur.

“I know some people like online learning more than others. I’m one of those,” she said. “I loved it. I found it to be really great and perfect for me. The first class I took was macroeconomics and I absolutely loved it.”

“I was glad that they have the Engage program, which gets you acclimated to their system, because it was a little bit confusing for me at first,” Stashuk says about the institution’s first free class for one college credit. “But once I got used to it, it was great. I loved that every single class had basically the same format, pretty much the same deadline. You just had to understand the teacher and their expectations.”

The eVersity experience rekindled Stashuk’s passion for education past what one degree could hold.

“When I was in school the first time, I had a lot of anxiety about test taking and school in general, so it took a lot of the joy away from learning,” she said. “With eVersity I really didn’t experience that at all with the online format. Also, having more age under my belt, I just enjoyed the learning experience a lot more.”

And her degree still sparks wonder and opportunity for learning.

“I didn’t want to stop school actually,” she said. “That’s why I re-enrolled after my last class was over. I’m actually taking a class now with eVersity even though I’m finished with my degree.”