Just knowing that I'm pursuing a degree and showing initiative — my employer recognizes my motivation and commitment to the organization and community.
Whether it's tackling labor negotiations, preparing for a natural disaster, or creating a traffic plan, Sheryl Bradley is ready for anything, thanks to the online education she is receiving from Penn State World Campus.
Bradley, a traffic analyst for the city of Orlando, Florida, and chairperson of the Orange County Community Traffic Safety Team, is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in law and society, a switch from her original degree program in organizational leadership. She has also taken several meteorology courses and may one day work toward a weather forecasting certificate.
Even though she switched majors, all of Bradley's credits transferred to her new major. She said, however, that she is already reaping the benefits of pursuing higher education: "Just knowing that I'm pursuing a degree and showing initiative — my employer recognizes my motivation and commitment to the organization and community."
She noted leading a meeting with Florida's labor relations agency as an instance in which she was able to apply skills she had learned. She was responsible for ensuring that the rights of more than 1,000 employees — herself included — were protected under a newly established union. Because of what she had learned in an online labor and industrial relations course, she went into the meeting with a firm background regarding each party's rights in the situation.
"Successfully representing those people was a huge accomplishment," she said. "Before, I would have had no idea where to even begin."
Bradley is also applying the legal research and writing skills she's learning to her current traffic safety project: petitioning Florida's legislature to reverse current law and allow cameras to be placed on Orlando's traffic signals to catch those who run red lights, making the city's intersections safer for pedestrians.
"This is my first law and society class, and I'm already incorporating it into my work," she said.
The convenience and flexibility of both the bachelor's degree and the certificate programs are a plus for Bradley, who has worked full-time and cared for her 9-year-old son while taking courses. World Campus offered Bradley degree options that suited her career path and that she could not find anywhere else, all at a fully accredited school with a widely known and highly regarded reputation. She said that even though she and her classmates are thousands of miles apart, strong bonds have still formed among them.
"There's an element of camaraderie among your peers, even though you've never seen them face-to-face."
As she completes her education, Bradley said she feels ready to tackle whatever challenges come her way.
"I truly believe with my World Campus education under my belt, there's little I can't accomplish."