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CALS Online Program Provides Balance to Graduating Master’s Student

Illinois native and current Raleigh resident Taylor McDonald wanted to further her education but needed to continue to work full time. She looked into NC State Online and Distance Education and found the perfect online program through NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

McDonald chose the online Master of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (YFCS) program with a Certified Life Educator ® and Board Certified Coach Component ®.

“The fact that I could maintain a full-time job while getting a great education online was a key factor in why I chose an NC State Online and Distance Education program,” McDonald said. “Being able to get a master’s degree online was great. I am lucky because I live very close to campus so I also was able to meet one-on-one with my professors and gain experiences that have helped me prosper.”

While enrolled in the online YFCS program, McDonald balanced a busy school schedule with a full-time job. McDonald says she was able to continue work toward her master’s, work full-time and serve as an intern with the Ronald McDonald House of Durham. She said this would not have been possible without the flexibility of the online program.

“I loved the flexibility of my program and the fact that all of my classes were in the evenings. I was able to come home from work and participate in class virtually. It was very convenient and it helped me develop strong time management skills,” McDonald said.

In addition to enhancing her time management skills, the online program allowed McDonald to apply research and theory to practice, specifically Andrew Behnke’s course YFCS 552: Program Development and Evaluation in Youth, Family and Community Science.

“I spent many hours working hard on this course and it paid off because I learned so much. We were able to work with a local organization in the community and write a needs assessment for them. I worked with Communities in Schools of North Carolina. We also learned how to write, develop and implement a grant,” McDonald explained.

McDonald is looking forward to graduating on May 12. She says so many doors of opportunity have already opened up to her.  

“This degree has not only opened up my eyes to different possibilities but it continues to help me reach my full potential,” McDonald said. She plans to earn Ph.D. next and one day become a professor in the field of family science.

“I know the lessons I’ve learned in this program will stay with me as I grow,” McDonald said.