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Amy and Jeremiah White have completed bachelor's degrees at Northwest and taking their knowledge in software engineering and development to new careers. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Amy and Jeremiah White have completed bachelor's degrees at Northwest and taking their knowledge in software engineering and development to new careers. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dec. 13, 2018

Non-traditional students complete degrees to improve quality of life

By Kelsey Johnson, communication assistant

Jeremiah and Amy White will graduate from Northwest Missouri State University this month, achieving more than just a diploma, but a new life. The married couple and parents of three children attended Northwest as non-traditional students, determined to make a more comfortable life for their family. 

Upon graduating, both Jeremiah and Amy will begin their careers at corporations in Kansas City, Missouri. Jeremiah is starting as an academy software engineer at Cerner Corporation, and Amy is working at Commerce Bank headquarters as a software developer in its information technology department.

“We’re very excited because our hard work paid off, and it’s going to make our life more comfortable,” Jeremiah said. “Now the next step is deciding what school district will be best for our children.”

Amy says Mock Interview Day at Northwest helped her get the job at Commerce Bank.

“My mock interview was with Commerce Bank, and I stayed in touch with the woman who interviewed me,” Amy said. “I was able to skip the phone interview process, and I was the first person they brought in because they knew me. Mock Interview Day changed my life.”

Jeremiah’s and Amy’s motivation to attend college and graduate was to make a stable life for their family, and to do something they love every day. The two began classes while their children were 1 month old, 2 years old and 4 years old.

“I started classes while I was working full-time along with two toddlers and a baby,” Jeremiah said. “When Amy started shortly after, I didn’t know how we were going to do it. Now, I’m excited for our kids to see the difference before and after college, and this will help us convince them that they need to go when they are older. ”

The Whites came to Northwest when Amy saw an open position in Northwest Facility Services. Amy encouraged Jeremiah, who at the time was seeking better job opportunities, to apply. Jeremiah was offered the job and the couple headed to Maryville.

Jeremiah began taking classes at Northwest after working at facility services for a year, and decided to major in computer science. Amy enrolled at Northwest to study interactive digital media and computer science shortly after. She was determined to have a career she loved after working in the fast food industry.

“As a non-traditional student, I had to manage my time very wisely and fit my life around college classes,” Jeremiah said. “I had to make sure my homework was done early because often times an assignment would be due at midnight, and I would have to work until 10:30 p.m., all while making sure our kids were taken care of.”

Amy said, “My biggest struggle was overcoming the stress of course work, finding a job, and taking care of my family, as well as involvements to help my resume.”

The Whites are excited to earn their degrees but will miss what they now call their second home.

“It’s bittersweet because I’m graduating in three and a half years, but for those three and a half years I’ve grown accustomed to seeing the same people that I’ve really enjoyed working and having classes with,” Amy said. “It’s a feeling of accomplishment, but I’m also sad to leave, what has become in more ways than one, our second home.”

Jeremiah added, “The people at Northwest, whether it’s a professor, librarian or whoever I run into, have been some of the most helpful people that we’ve ever met in our lives. Northwest has a spirit of being generous and helpful. It’s a big family and you really are cared about.”

The Whites encourage anyone who is considering enrolling as a non-traditional student to go for it, no matter their place in life.

“I believe you never really know how much you can do until you try,” Jeremiah said. “My strategy has been to just take it day by day.”

Amy added, “We did something really awesome, and it will be even more incredible to see as life goes on. More than anything, I think our kids are ready for us to be done.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215