Paying it Forward - 2007 Profiles

Provider Karen Kring

Alumna - Ortonville, Michigan

General Motors Global Program Manager Karen Kring says she fell in love with online learning at University of Phoenix, so she writes a blog to inform others about its programs. The 43-year-old wife and mother earned straight As while completing her Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Master of Information Systems. Initially, Karen worried about sacrificing time with her eight-year-old son to attend college. However, just as she read to her son when he was little, he volunteered to read to Karen sometimes during long nights of study. She says her son learned to value his education and works even harder to earn good grades. Although Karen has two degrees in hand, she is not slowing down. She plans to obtain a doctoral degree to continue to advance her career and better provide for her family.

Jacquelyn Willis-Walker

Recipient - Atlanta, Georgia

A simple online search of colleges and universities changed the life of Jacquelyn Willis-Walker. The 44-year-old single mother ran across a blog about University of Phoenix that was written by her scholarship provider, Karen Kring. They connected via e-mail and realized they shared a lot in common as it relates to personal challenges and tragedies. Jacquelyn says Karen encouraged her to finish her bachelor’s degree in marketing because going back to school was no easy decision. Jacquelyn works two part-time jobs while home-schooling her nine-year-old daughter. She hopes to inspire others to never give up on their dreams and persevere despite tough circumstances. She will be the first in her family to graduate from college.

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