How a Full-Time RVer Earned Her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Eller

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Angela Kirby ’21 BSBA (Business Administration) ’22 MIS began her career as a licensed physical therapist assistant. In January 2023, she’ll start a new job as a data analyst at General Motors. Her time at the Eller College of Management cemented her interest in MIS and led her down the path to a different occupation.

Growing up, Kirby fostered an interest in sports, participating in everything from track and swimming to cheer team and dance. When she got older, she elected to unite her interests in sports and working with people one-on-one. She became a licensed physical therapist assistant—a job in which she focused on “restoring function through exercise and motion,” Kirby says.

After obtaining her degree through a local community college, she worked in the field for 10 years. But the work was mentally and physically challenging, and she felt like there was limited room for growth.

So Kirby decided to make a change. Living in Austin, Texas at the time, she toured a few college campuses, but they didn’t feel quite right.

When she came across the University of Arizona and found Eller, everything clicked. In addition to the MIS Department’s high rankings, she especially liked the “opportunity to earn [a degree] from anywhere and year-round,” she says.

Kirby earned her bachelor’s in business administration through Eller’s online program in December 2021.

“Being an online student can be isolating at times, but you don’t have to learn alone,” she says.

In addition to getting to know classmates and attending professors’ office hours, Kirby was involved in extracurricular activities like the Eller Online Advisory Board, a remote Tech Core internship and the First Connections Mentorship Program, where she continues to mentor Eller Online students. She also received Eller’s Top Collegiate Women Award and attended a lunch and tea for the award winners.

Kirby even spoke at her graduation ceremony. At the urging of her academic advisor, she applied to be the speaker, auditioned via Zoom and was selected as the convocation speaker.

“I was the first speaker at Eller who was an online student,” she says. “Any online student can have that opportunity if they’re willing to put themselves out there.”

Now she’s preparing to graduate with her master’s in MIS, which she is also pursuing online at Eller.

As a full-time RVer, Kirby has traveled through 30 states with her husband and Labrador while earning both of her degrees.

After she graduates in December 2022, Kirby will move to Atlanta to work as a data analyst at General Motors.

“One of the reasons I wanted to work for the company is they’re engineering a greener future,” she says, noting that she values how inclusive the company is as well. “GM is also ahead of the curve on connected cars,” she adds.

Looking back on her Eller experience, Kirby is happy to have gotten involved and met such supportive people.

“Your journey is what you make it,” she says.