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Source: Deanna Retzlaff, 785-532-2202, retzlaff@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Rosanna Vail, 785-532-2720, rvail@k-state.edu

Friday, June 10, 2011

SUCCESSFULLY JUGGLING SCHOOL, WORK, FAMILY AND MORE EARNS NEW DISTANCE EDUCATION GRADUATE EXTRAORDINARY STUDENT AWARD

MANHATTAN -- When Michele Heveron, Spicer, Minn., began taking animal sciences classes through Kansas State University, she had no idea she'd be named an extraordinary student by the time she graduated -- all without setting foot on campus.

Heveron, who completed a bachelor's degree in animal sciences and industry and minors in business and food science via K-State distance education this spring, works full time in the quality assurance department at Jennie-O Turkey Store in Minnesota.

"I already had an associate degree in veterinary technology, so a bachelor's in animal sciences and industry seemed the perfect complement," Heveron said. "Since I had free electives, the business minor seemed like a good idea, and a co-worker who happened to be working on her degree from K-State recommended the food science minor."

Because she was working toward her degree, Heveron had the opportunity to apply and be accepted into her current position.

Heveron, who has been balancing education with a full-time work schedule, her family and farm life -- including caring for her animals -- for several years, received the 2011 K-State Division of Continuing Education Extraordinary Student Award. The honor is given to one distance education student each year who has demonstrated academic excellence, focus and career ambition throughout their studies.

"I was completely shocked to be nominated for this award, and even more so to be selected," Heveron said.

Deanna Retzlaff, assistant professor in K-State's Food Science Institute, has served as an adviser to Heveron and nominated her for the award.

"It's easy to become overwhelmed by family, job responsibilities and classes, but Michele stayed focused and was always eager to learn. She combined her real-world experience with information she learned from her classes to help excel in her career," Retzlaff said.

Although Heveron has never been to campus -- not even to accept her award or to walk in commencement -- she hopes to visit Manhattan someday. She's grateful for the education she completed through K-State.

"Distance education was the only way all of this was possible for me with everything else going on in my life," she said. "I spent a lot of time on the weekends doing homework while I was attending school full time this last year, but my family helped out a lot. Keeping myself motivated was the hardest part, and now I am glad to be done."

To learn more about the K-State Division of Continuing Education, visit http://www.dce.k-state.edu.