Alumni Spotlight: Kimbra Shoop
Kimbra Shoop spent more than a decade earning a college degree at home while balancing her duties as a mother and working as a writer and editorial consultant in central Pennsylvania.
As a part-time student, she jumped from one institution to the next looking for a program that offered a rigorous curriculum, dedicated faculty and convenience. She says she found it all when she discovered Indiana University East’s distance-learning programs in 2009, the same year she enrolled as a full-time student to go “full-throttle” and finally finish her degree.
"The quality of (distance-learning) education varies dramatically," Shoop said. "This program exceeded my expectations. I can't even articulate just how different and exceptional this program is in comparison to others.
“It’s the faculty,” she said. “They really care. I was really blown away by that. The courses were challenging. A lot of people have this preconceived notion that online coursework is going to be easy. You’re just going through the motions to get your degree. That was not at all the case with IU East. The courses that I took really made you apply the material, not just in a theoretical sense, but in a real world professional context.”
The 40-year-old graduated this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and ended her undergraduate studies with a flurry, which included her first visit to campus. During IU East’s April 28 Honors Convocation, Shoop accepted the Chancellor’s Scholars award for having the highest grade point average from IU East’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The convocation was actually the second IU-sponsored event she attended this year having also attended a conference in women and gender studies on March 31 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“I felt very connected (to campus),” Shoop said. “It was great to have the opportunity to do something like the conference because then I got to meet people face to face.” Shoop, who now works from home as a local registrar for the Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records, said she plans to pursue a master’s degree in communications after being inspired by IU East faculty to do so.
After more than a decade in pursuing a college degree, she said she’s convinced that IU East offers the perfect option.
“IU has a solid reputation,” Shoop said. “They really pioneered distance education.
"Without the availability of their quality online programs, I wouldn't have been able to attend IU East because I'm so far away," she said. "Locally, I don't think I could have had the same great educational experience that I had."