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K-State Today

October 19, 2021

Wilson receives outstanding student award from UPCEA

Submitted by Ashley Nietfeld

Linda Wilson, an online student at Kansas State University in the master's in industrial and organizational psychology program, is the recipient of the 2021 University Professional and Continuing Education Central Region Outstanding Professional, Continuing and/or Online Education Student Award. This award honors a credit or noncredit professional, continuing and/or online education student for achievement of excellence in pursuit of their educational goals.

"It is an honor to be recognized alongside the other regional recipients who are also driven by what ongoing education can do for themselves and those they serve," Wilson said.

After 22 years at John Deere, Wilson, Davenport, Iowa, had risen to the leadership role of head of manager development but recognized the benefits a master's degree could bring to her career. She chose K-State's online master's in industrial and organizational psychology program after noticing that industrial and organizational psychologists were in demand at the company. Soon after starting the program, however, Wilson's father was diagnosed with an illness. She left John Deere to become his primary caregiver while continuing her studies full time.

Despite the challenges of being a caregiver to a parent, Wilson continued to be successful in her program and her instructors recognized her attention to detail, willingness to ask questions and desire to master the subject matter.

"Linda leaves a very positive impression on all those she meets through her kind and humble nature," said Sarina M. Maneotis, K-State teaching assistant professor of psychological sciences who has taught three of Wilson's classes and helped nominate Wilson for this award. "Though she has accomplished much, she knows there is always more to learn and is never too proud to ask questions in order to do so."

Wilson also began using what she was learning in her volunteer work in her community. As a project for her Personnel Training course, Wilson developed online tools for a local nonprofit organization, Understanding Works NFP, which connects high school student authors with local community members who have stories to share about World War II and the Holocaust. Her work helped close training gaps, improved timelines and allowed for better assessment tracking within the program.

Wilson will be recognized Oct. 20 at the UPCEA Central Region Conference, which will be conducted virtually.