Full-time parents, full-time workers, and husband and wife, Tiffany and Earl Hillaker decided to pursue higher education together. With the goal of becoming teachers, they were determined — despite knowing this decision would involve busy schedules and hard work. However, after taking their busy schedules into account, the Hillakers also knew they didn’t have time to attend school in person.
“We chose ASU Online because we were full-time parents. We worked full-time, we didn't have time to go on campus to actually attend class, so we wanted something that was an online option, but also highly credible,” Tiffany said.
While the Hillakers' passion for teaching and guiding youth was a large part of their decision to return to school, it wasn’t always the path they envisioned for themselves.
“I’ve considered many careers in my life, but never education,” Tiffany said. “I got a job as an instructional aide in special education and fell in love with education. I thought to myself this is something I would do for free. This is what I’m meant to do.”
Motivated by the impact they could make as teachers, the Hillakers attended school and vowed to use what they learned to give back to the community.
“Working in education kept me motivated to keep moving up in education,” Tiffany explained.
As recent graduates of ASU Online’s Bachelor of Arts in Education in educational studies program, the Hillakers have big plans for their future in education. Tiffany is set to teach in the school district she attended growing up, while Earl aims to pursue community advocacy in the education system.
“I want to use my degree to teach in the classroom and to be an advocate in my community for kids and also for the schools in general [including] the teachers and the staff members,” Earl said.
Reflecting on their education, the Hillakers praise ASU Online’s technologically-driven curriculum as a key factor of their academic success and growth in their careers.
“ASU Online has prepared me, not only by teaching me the general topics I need to know, but also teaching me how to operate technology and apply it in many different aspects,” Tiffany said. “Technology is the future, and ASU made me more confident in my tech abilities which I will need in my career.”
The Hillakers demonstrate that with perseverance, teamwork, and a strong sense of motivation, anyone can follow their dreams to pursue higher education and make a difference in their community.