Many students who enroll at ASU Online are pleasantly surprised by their first experience with innovative virtual learning. What’s more unique, however, are those students who go on to share their personal experience with online learning in a professional capacity.
Adriana Bachmann brings the benefit of both perspectives to her role at Arizona Virtual Academy. She began her college experience on campus at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she majored in English. While attending school, she began working as an enrollment services representative for Carrington College, a for-profit private college network with 18 locations throughout the West. The experience introduced her to marketing and communications, and piqued her interest to the point that she began researching alternative colleges and degree programs in the area.
“I didn’t want to leave Tucson,” Adriana says. “Then I stumbled across ASU Online. Today, you see billboards and commercials for it everywhere, but at the time I hadn’t heard about it and became so excited.”
She soon left the University of Arizona to complete an associate’s degree at a local community college, then enrolled in ASU Online’s mass communication and media studies degree program. Before long, Adriana had cultivated relationships with her new professors and was in constant contact with her academic advisor and Success Coach.
“They are very helpful — the first people I go to if I need resources,” she says. “I was once having a hard time with a project in one of my English courses, so I reached out to my Success Coach and he steered me in the right direction in terms of webinars and online group sessions with other students.”
As a result, Adriana has felt more at home as a Sun Devil than she did as a Wildcat.
“I won’t say that at my house because I will get egged,” she jokes, “but I feel more a part of the ASU community than I did when going to the U of A. I think it’s because I found the career path and industry I want to be in, so I’m communicating with people who have the same interests.”
Her experience ultimately landed her the role of site director at Arizona Virtual Academy’s Blended Learning Center in Tucson, an online school for K-12 students. Adriana helps plan community events and is in constant communication with concerned parents.
“People come to us looking for a different option,” Adriana explains, “but parents fear they won’t be able to help their kids with homework. We remind them that they don’t have to do the teaching, because that’s what our teachers are there for. Since I am an online student, I am able to talk to them from personal experience and remind them that although it’s an online learning environment, the support system is there — you just have to reach out and access it. It’s great because they hear about my schooling and are no longer as scared of it.”
She adds that some of the students may be musicians, performers or athletes, and having the online option allows them to organize their day around training or practice schedules.
“It allows them to create an environment where they will learn and learn well,” she says. “For example, I don’t do any school work in the morning because I’m too tired. I do it all in the evening after dinner, when I am most energized. Attending school online is a great way to personalize your learning experience.”
Due to the demands of her full-time job, Adriana is currently attending ASU Online as a part-time student, and is on track to graduate in fall 2018. With her degree, she hopes to further explore careers in the education, nonprofit or publishing industries.