Lifelong Learner, Military Wife, and Proud Penn State Alum

Lissa and her husband Cade at Commencement
Lissa and her husband Cade at Commencement

Lissa Liverman graduated in the summer 2013 semester with her bachelor’s degree in business through Penn State World Campus. We were excited to meet her in person during our Graduation Celebration! We also talked with her afterwards to learn about her overall experience as a World Campus student.

Why did you choose Penn State World Campus?

I’ve worked in the corporate side of multi-family housing for about eight years in various roles, including regional director of operations, and operations manager, but I knew I needed to pursue an undergraduate degree to get to the next level in my career.

My husband is an active duty military servicemember, so I needed to find an opportunity that was transient. After several months of research and reviews, I found Penn State World Campus was ranked highly. Before I got started, I wasn’t sure what I thought about online learning, but it’s proven to be a great experience.

What it’s like to have a spouse in the military?

My husband, Cade, is active duty in the army infantry, and what he does is high stress. As a spouse, it’s as much a sacrifice for you as the servicemember. There are lots of unknowns when he’s serving, and it’s high stress on both ends, but it’s incredibly important job, and one that often goes unrecognized. I know he’s devoting his time for the service of others.

Lissa and her husband Cade
Lissa and her husband Cade

Now that you’ve received your degree, tell us about your Penn State World Campus experience as a whole.

It was much more challenging than I expected. But I took it very seriously, and I was an honors student. I’m so glad I’m done!

One thing that stuck out to me is this: not only are you a learner, but you’re a teacher in a lot of ways. Just like in any university, you will have instructors who are very involved, and others who expect the students to lead some of the learning.

My husband, Cade, watched me go through my degree, and he told me that the work-life balance and amount of effort required for my studies was twice what was required of him as a servicemember.

Do you have any advice for students still working toward their degrees today?

Don’t just learn to pass a test, but look at the materials from a practical perspective. How can the knowledge be applied? Try to take the concepts and relate them to practical applications in your life. It’s easy to say, “I’ve got a test in 3 weeks, and I’m going to cram.” But I would recommend making sure you’re studying and learning, because later, you can apply that knowledge when you need it.

Also, I’d say everyone should prioritize their time. Just because many deadlines are on Sundays, you shouldn’t start working on assignments on Saturday. Professors give you a full week of work—be sure to give yourself enough time!

What’s next for you?

My long-term goal is to go to grad school, but I’m still trying to figure out which program would be right for me. I’m also pursuing my project management certificate right now, and I’m ready to go back into the workforce.

Lissa Liverman at the Graduation Celebration
Lissa at the Graduation Celebration with Paula Hogard, Director of Penn State Continuing Education; Kay Salvino, President, Penn State Alumni Association; and Yvonne Gaudelius, Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at Penn State and Professor of Art Education and Women’s Studies. (Photo by Bill Wallace)