Brittany Sounyaphong has a piece of advice for people who might be considering the Adult Degree Completion Program at UAFS: Find your fire.
“Any time someone tells me I can’t do something, it lights a fire and passion in me to get it done,” the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith student said. So she wants other people to find a passion that ignites their fire to reach their dreams.
Sounyaphong, like many students, started at UAFS right after high school. But, as she puts it, “life happened, and I had to take a break.” Ultimately, she joined the Air Force, which became an important part of her getting back to school.
Students in the Adult Degree Completion Program can present portfolios of work completed and skills developed outside of traditional classes. That, added to previous credits earned, helps students expedite the road to a bachelor’s degree in either Organizational Leadership or General Studies.
Although some people say their family responsibilities make college impossible for them, Sounyaphong saw it differently. Her family – husband Peter, son Parker, 6, and daughter Monroe, 3 – definitely figured into her decision to go back to school.
“We always tell our children that they can do, be, and have anything they want, and they just need to put in the work to get there,” Sounyaphong said. “Now it’s time to lead by example and show them that mama can do it too.”
The program is open to people at least 25 years old with at least five year’s work experience. They need to have at least 30 college credit hours and must not have earned a bachelor’s degree before. UAFS uses a nationally recognized method of awarding credit from past experiences, including work, seminars, military education, and training or certificate programs.
Sounyaphong received credit for courses she took in the Community College of the Air Force.
Sounyaphong, 30, is working in the information technology field, and, even as a student, she has found jobs to be abundant. She knows that having her degree “opens so many more doors for career progression.”
Sounyaphong said the process to enter the Adult Degree Completion Program was a breeze.
“The process was fairly easy and quick,” she said. “The whole ADCP staff makes it so welcoming and stress-free. I spoke with Dr. Tina Root one day and turned everything in during the next couple of days, and by the end of the week, I was enrolled!”
She aims to graduate in December of 2022.
For anyone on the fence about the Adult Degree Completion Program, Sounyaphong offers this advice.
“Take 15 minutes of your time to talk to Dr. Tina Root or any of the ADCP staff or students,” she said. “I promise you they will do their best to provide you with the answers, resources, and ways to help you get to where you want to be.”
She said no timeline requires everyone to take big steps in the same order. Not everyone will find college the right place to be after high school. "Everyone is different, but everyone can achieve success,” she said.