With dreams of becoming a registered dietitian, ASU Online student Jennifer Keefer had originally planned to attend the university on campus. But life had other plans, and a serious fall down a flight of stairs put those dreams on hold.
Jennifer’s fall triggered a congenital problem called chiari malformation, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. It took three years for her to receive the diagnosis, at which point she underwent brain surgery. Though she has recovered and says she is in a lot better place than she was four years ago, the condition is lifelong. Jennifer’s arteries suffered damage, and she now has heat intolerance — not ideal when living in Arizona.
“Some days are worse than others as far as cognitive abilities, so having to drive or even living on campus no longer seemed like an option,” Jennifer says. “There’s no telling whether this is lifelong, but there is hope, and I have a good team of medical professionals.”
She eventually got a job in the front office at a local high school, where she enjoyed talking with students. One day, she had the opportunity to give a 15-minute presentation on nutrition to a computer class. She walked out of the room wanting to become a high school health teacher, and knew it was time to find a way to go back to school. When she discovered ASU Online’s degree in Health Education and Health Promotion, she knew it was the right fit.