Jessica Garate '16
Family and Community Services Master's
Junction City, Kansas
Jessica Garate's upbringing in the military originally led her to Kansas State University as an undergraduate student in the late 1990s, but the desire for a new challenge and the opportunity to work with military families brought her back.
Garate completed the family and community services online master's program through K-State Global Campus, securing a practicum with Purdue University's Military Extension Internship Program in the process. She hopes to find a career working with children or youth, which would allow her to utilize both her degrees.
Family and Community Services Master's Student Experience
What drew you to the Family and Community Services master's program?
"Upon graduation (undergraduate degree from K-State) I went into the field and worked in early child education, and I was there for 8 1/2 years. I wanted something challenging and something that got me back into working with military families. Since I was working and a supervisor, distance education felt like the right fit for me. It was a great idea, because now I've got my master's, and it fit exactly what I wanted to do, work with military families again."
What was it like to be part of an online program after doing your undergraduate work at K-State?
"I've been out of school for a long time. I got my undergrad in '03, so it was over 10 years of not being in class. Even though at my last job we had a lot of professional development, being in school again was a hard challenge for me. Being able to blog and tell what I would have said in a classroom was a challenge. And I'm not really good with technology. But it's expanded my learning, my experience and also the ability to do my job, because we do a lot of conference calls, we do a lot of webinars, so it's helped me in my current practicum as well."
Were there any faculty or staff in the program who made an impact on you, or helped influence the direction you were going?
"In graduate school, Janet Crow was one of my professors for program evaluation implementation. She kept seeing that I wrote about military families and my experiences, so she's who guided me toward Purdue University. And also Charlotte Shoup Olsen has been very instrumental in me being able to complete all the necessary requirements. My professors, my advisors have all been very helpful. I don't think I would have had that experience elsewhere, to be honest, because I've looked into other schools. I don't think I would have had that hands-on experience with it. It's really a community here."
What are your career goals going forward with your new degree?
"My internship through Purdue University was only supposed to be three months, but they actually extended it to six months. That gives me a cushion to find another job, but what I'm looking for is a job either with the Air Force or the Army. But now that I've been with the Air Force, I think that's where I'm leaning."