Rio Salado Alumni Profile - Where are they now? Meet Stacia Wenckus
From 2005-2008, Stacia Wenckus worked full-time, took care of her young son, and squeezed in study time whenever she could on her quest to earn a college degree. It took three years but resulted in an associate in arts degree from Rio Salado College.
“I originally chose Rio Salado many years ago for the online ability to complete classes,” Wenckus said. “At the time, I was a single mother and also ran an accredited in-home preschool. Therefore, I was able to complete a lot of the schoolwork in the evening hours.”
Wenckus found the flexibility of online classes fit perfectly with her busy schedule.
“Learning at home was so much more convenient then having to figure out childcare for my son.” Wenckus said. “I was able to do a lot of my assignments during his naps or after he went to bed. I didn’t have to worry about driving to school and being on time.”
While online learning can be challenging, Wenckus said she kept a detailed log to stay organized.
“At the beginning of each class, I created a Word document that had all the assignments for the class, the due date, and a box to check that I had finished and turned in the assignment,” Wenckus said. “It really kept me on track versus going week by week and not truly knowing what to expect in the upcoming weeks.”
She also said it is helpful to have dedicated time set aside to do class assignments.
“I would recommend having a daily/weekly planner in which you write down all your upcoming appointments and make sure you schedule time for your schoolwork,” Wenckus said. “I try to stay at least a week ahead in my coursework, because we never know when someone will get sick or something will come up that requires our time to be pulled away from our schooling.”
After earning her associate degree from Rio Salado in 2008, Wenckus said her goal was to become a nurse.
So where is she today?
“Since graduating from Rio Salado, I continued my education at Chamberlain College of Nursing in Phoenix where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2011,” Wenckus said.
She graduated with honors and got a job as a registered nurse with the Phoenix VA Hospital, where she works today.
“I assist patients in the Community Living Center, which is comparable to a nursing home,” Wenckus said. “I help with home health services, scheduling appointments, setting up travel requests, running care plan meetings, and other case manager duties.”
Wenckus attained her goal from 2008, but she is not done with higher education. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nursing specializing in informatics from Grand Canyon University.
“Once I attain my master’s degree, I will move my career into informatics,” Wenckus said. “Informatics is the blending of nursing processes and technology to ensure that patients are receiving the utmost and transitional care that is possible in their current stage of life.”
When she was 12, Wenckus built her first computer with her stepfather, and plans on building a new computer with her now 16-year-old son.
“I feel that my skills and natural problem-solving ability will help advance the technological uses within the medical field as there is currently a missing link between clinical end-users and IT contributors,” Wenckus said.
One thing is for certain – Rio Salado College helped lay the groundwork for Wenckus’ career success.
“Rio Salado has well-rounded courses with thorough instructors who support their students,” Wenckus said. “It helped me move up in my career goals so that I could be where I am today.”
Wenckus added that she would recommend Rio Salado College to the next generation of online learners.
“Online classes make life easier for working or single parents,” Wenckus said. “The convenience of doing the course work on your schedule of the day is what makes it a great option, especially since Rio Salado has been doing online courses for much longer than today’s online colleges.”