First Rutgers Off Campus Grad in Public Health Takes the Long Road

Rutgers Off Campus Programs at Atlantic Cape Community College

Mishi Resian’s life journey has taken her from a village in Kenya, to U.S. Army bases in Germany and New Jersey, to deployment in Iraq as an Army combat medic, and then to community college near her home in Galloway Township, N.J. near Atlantic City.

But no path has been more important to her than the walk for her Rutgers diploma.

In May 2015, Resian graduated as the first-ever student in the Center for Off Campus Programs in the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies to earn a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Taking all those roads, her commute by contrast seems easy: While she is an Off Campus student, Resian chose for the past two years to drive the 100 miles from Galloway to New Brunswick to take all classes for her major in person. This semester, she also took three classes at the Rutgers Off Campus Programs location at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, close to her home.

Resian took another important trip before graduating: In March, she returned to her native Kenya to bring back her three-year-old son Adam, who was staying with relatives while she concentrated on finishing her degree. But Resian felt strongly that she wanted her son, however young, to see her graduate.

While attending Rutgers, she maintained a position as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves, a role she took after leaving active service as an Army medic.

Even with all her travels, Resian has distinguished herself academically. “I’ve come through a lot of adversities to where I am now. So I didn’t just want to graduate,” she said. “I wanted to graduate with honors.” She hit the target:  Resian graduated magna cum laude in May 2015 with a 3.8 GPA, on the dean’s list for her spring semester.

Resian pointed to Elizabeth Moore, Off Campus Programs site coordinator for Atlantic Cape Community College, as a key supporter in her walk toward a degree.  “Where would I be without Elizabeth?! Elizabeth has been amazing,” Resian said. “I had a really tough time when I first came to Rutgers as a single parent organizing for child care and registering for classes … Elizabeth was there for me when I first came to Rutgers. It sounds like little things … but it meant the world to me if I didn’t have to worry” about course registration, administrative issues, and major requirements.

Resian next aims to resume her military career with a position as a public health officer. In the future she plans to pursue a graduate program in public health. Wherever she travels next, it will be with that well-earned Rutgers degree in hand.

More About Rutgers Off Campus Programs: The Center for Off Campus Programs in the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies provides a nontraditional route to a college degree. With five locations around the state, 12 academic departments and 17 degree programs, the Off Campus Programs at Rutgers allow students to complete an associate’s degree at a partnering community college; apply and be admitted to Rutgers; and then complete a degree remotely by attending Rutgers-taught classes on location at a partnering community college.

Info: offcampus.rutgers.edu

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