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Online Grad “Tailors” Coursework to Enhance Her Life

Jennifer Seaver and community members sit at an art table working on a stencil project.
Founder of Art For All Jennifer Seaver works on a stencil project with members of the community.

Jennifer Seaver will graduate from the Leadership in the Public Sector (LPS) B.A. online program in May as, in her words, a more “well-rounded, better, more caring human.” She credits her experience in the program with increasing her confidence, self-esteem and improving her mental health.

Online LPS graduate Jennifer Seaver. Photo by Light Creative.

“I loved my learning experience at NC State. Though I was 100% online, I was able to take a wide variety of courses including Business of Design, Sustainable Development and even Self Defense. My experience in the LPS program has been outstanding. The courses have been challenging yet manageable. They have challenged my belief structures and have helped me recognize my strengths and passions,” Seaver said.

Along with being a wife and mother, Seaver currently works as an administrative specialist with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources, Water Chemistry Lab. In addition, she is the founder and executive director for the non-profit organization Art For All — N.C. In her mini-documentary, she gives an overview of her work and shares her hope that her non-profit will bring people together.

Her interest in furthering her education started when she was promoted to the position of an office manager in her early 20s and felt unprepared for the role. Seaver decided to enroll in the LPS program in 2019 after completing two associate degrees at Wake Technical Community College. She was attracted to the non-profit element of the program as well as the distance education component.

Benefits of an LPS Degree

Seaver credits the LPS program with helping her to get her job stating that “HR and those interviewing me were very impressed with my educational pursuits. My current boss also told me that my predecessors used this position as a springboard within the division.”

In addition, she says the LPS program has also prepared her for becoming a non-profit founder and executive director. “I developed a business plan and feasibility study through my coursework. I also worked with NC State Student Legal Services to file to become incorporated in the State of NC and 501(c)(3) Nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service. Before I graduate, I’ll also have written my first grant for the non-profit, my final project for LPS 304: Grant Writing,” Seaver explains.  She plans to continue her education with NC State by pursuing a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree. She believes her experience in the LPS program has been foundational for helping her to find her “authentic self and building skills and confidence” to pursue a career path “bringing deep meaning” to her life.

Support for Work-Life Balance

The secret to managing all of Seaver’s different roles is clear communication and time management. She eased her way into the program by taking only one or two classes at a time and keeping her employer abreast of upcoming projects and exams. Due to her planning, she was able to take time off as needed to focus on her coursework. 

As time went on, she developed better student habits and routines which allowed her to gradually increase her course load.

“I’ve learned to ‘chunk out’ assignments and focus on making progress every day. When I’ve run into problems (like not making a deadline), I ask for help, and the professors have always been very understanding and gracious. I’ve been able to tailor my coursework to my interests and take classes that have directly benefited my life — well before graduation,” Seaver said. She also noted her husband and son are her “biggest cheerleaders.”

Photo by Light Creative.

In conjunction with the support of her family and her employer, her professors and Program Advisor LaShica Waters, Ph.D., provided consistent and reliable support. She is particularly grateful for Assistant Teaching Professor Remi Ham.

She guest lectured for two modules in one of my elective courses, HS 420: Green Infrastructure. She taught a module on green interventions in vacant lots and one on building community gardens — and I found my calling. I later took my last free elective with Professor Ham, HS 302: Herbaceous Perennials,” Seaver adds.

Advice for Others

Seaver highly recommends NC State’s online programs to anyone who is interested in furthering their education. 

“If you seek to be a better version of yourself, then yes – you should enroll in an online bachelor’s program at NC State — especially Leadership in the Public Sector. Understand that getting an online degree is a process. Sometimes it will be pretty easy, while other times you’ll be asking yourself, ‘what the heck was I thinking?!’ But, the semesters fly by, and you’ll get to learn a ton! Just keep paddling until you get through, day by day. The advice I would give is to take breaks when you need to and strive for progress, not perfection.”

She plans to attend the in-person graduation ceremony with her family. And adds, “Outside of that, I do not have any other plans. Honestly, my idea of celebrating is digging in my garden for a few hours. Hopefully, I’ll get to harvest some radishes by then!”

Are you interested in advancing your career with a degree from NC State Online? Visit the program pages and for a full list of degree and certificate programs.

This post was originally published in DELTA News.