Singapore to San Luis Valley

(05-24-2016)

Online student completes final year on campus

stacy shepherdson at adams state 2016 spring commencement

From the tropical, densely populated island of Singapore to the rural, high mountain desert of southern Colorado, Stacey Faith Shepherdson bravely chose to spread her wings and physically attend Adams State University, after beginning her degree through online courses.

"I chose to finish my final year on campus itself," Shepherdson said. She received her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in sociology and criminology at Adams State's Commencement Ceremony on May 14. "When people ask me, I just say, 'sociology' because I take pride in being from that department."

Shepherdson began her association with Adams State through the Extended Studies Arium Program in Singapore. "My course work through the online program prepared me well for on-campus classes," Shepherdson said.

However, she still had to adjust to an entirely different country and living situation. "I wanted to experience a new environment and culture and I was blessed with the privilege and opportunity to be able to go, so I went for it."

Adams State professors and staff supported Shepherdson and helped make her year on campus successful. Dr. Ben Waddell, assistant professor of sociology, encouraged her to share her culture with him and the class. "He took the time to get to know me as a student." Chair of the Sociology Department Dr. Grace Young was the first professor Shepherdson met when she arrived. "She introduced me to the sociology program and got me even more excited about it."

Outside of academics, Oneyda Maestas, Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement Center (CASA) director, welcomed Shepherdson with "open arms. Oneyda made my stay much more enjoyable by making me feel at home. She was a joy to get to know."

stacy shepherdson ice fishing

Carol Shepherdson traveled with her daughter to Adams State and stayed long enough to help her get settled. Ellen Novotny, Extended Studies instructor, and Dr. Frank Novotny, Adams State vice president of Academic Affairs, befriended both Stacey and Carol. "Imagine coming to a foreign country for ten months, with only three large suitcases," Ellen said. "Needless to say, we shopped the local economy to outfit her dorm room, and to gather clothing appropriate for an Alamosa winter." They also established necessary medical, financial, technical, and insurance contacts and took in some local sites including Creede, Lake City, and San Luis, before Carol flew back home to Singapore.

Once comfortably established, Shepherdson embraced the new experience. "Stacey absolutely glowed with the joy of a young woman on the trailhead of a grand adventure," Novotny added. "Intelligent, caring, studious, charming, filled with questions and seeking answers, Stacy met ASU with confidence, knowing she was supported by her family from afar."

The decision to attend Adams State, as an on-campus student, opened up a whole world for Shepherdson. "I experienced so many different new things that I wouldn't have been able to, had I chose to stay in Singapore. I also got to meet a range of people with different personalities and backgrounds. In turn, it helped me grow as a person, as well, because I was able to understand how to live on my own and make friends with people from another country. I also got a taste of American culture and having the freedom of being in college."

Arium School of Arts and Science, a private higher education institution in Singapore, has partnered with Adams State Extended Studies for over ten years to provide the opportunity for students in Singapore to earn a United States degree.

For more information about all Adams State Extended Studies programs call 719-587-7671.