Distance student completes degree through Hurricane Sandy's aftermath
For Timothy Cox, Old Bridge, New Jersey, graduating with a 4.0 GPA is proof that determination and support from family and a university can bring academic success through even the most challenging situations.
This spring, Cox is completing his academic advising master's degree online through Kansas State University Global Campus—a program he pursued while working and living in a county hard hit by Hurricane Sandy in fall 2012.
After traveling out of state during the storm, Cox waited a week for a flight home, returning to floods, downed trees, damaged property and long lines for food and gasoline. Most of the town went without power for two weeks, making it difficult, if not impossible, to continue course work under such extreme conditions.
"Honestly, K-State reaching out to students after Hurricane Sandy made me feel like I was officially part of the K-State family," Cox said. "From emotional counseling to academic assistance, it was great to see that resources were available to all students. My professors were very understanding of the challenges we were facing."
Cox also returned to his job in student services at Brookdale Community College in Old Bridge, supporting his own students through the storm's aftermath while continuing to excel in his academic advising program. Helping students achieve their educational objectives while at Brookdale is what helped him find his passion for academic advising.
"The relationships that I establish with my students and the progress I see them make over the years is what I enjoy most about the field," he said.
He decided to obtain his degree from Kansas State University after a recommendation from his supervisor at Brookdale. During his studies, he also became involved with the National Academic Advising Association, or NACADA, which is based at the university.
"K-State's program is the only one of its kind in the nation," Cox said. "My supervisor told me that the program would be an excellent professional development opportunity as I pursue doctoral studies and future job opportunities."
His education is already paying off. Recently making the move to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Cox is continuing his passion for higher education and plans to pursue a doctoral degree within the next few years.
In addition to his academic and career accomplishments, he is proud to report that much of the Jersey shore and surrounding communities are recovering and establishing a new sense of community.
"It is always easy to give up when things get rough, but I came too far to lose sight of my goal," he said. "Even though I am hundreds of miles away from K-State, knowing that I am cared about makes a big difference."
Pushing forward against a force of nature. That's the Wildcat Way.
— Anna Shippy