The demands of being a single mom raising two high school boys with college aspirations led Kristin Jensen to the conclusion that she needed a bachelor’s degree to help her compete for a higher paying job.
“I love my job as a legal assistant (working in the Office of the Attorney General in Olympia) but I need a better paying job so that I can help my boys go to college,” Jensen said. “I’ve been with the Office of the Attorney General for seven years, and there are job opportunities that I’ve missed out on because I didn’t have a bachelor degree.”
Jensen, born into a military family, spent much of her youth moving from base to base in the United States and Europe. She joined the military at the age of 19 and went into military intelligence. In the 1980s she was stationed in the Persian Gulf region as part of Operation Desert Shield. Rising to the rank of sergeant, her prospects for a career looked good, given her language skills.
But things change. Her Polish language skills didn’t mesh with the Army’s need for people who spoke Arabic. After four years she opted out, developing her life on the civilian side.
Once Jensen, now 45, set her sights on returning to school, she recognized that she hadn’t been to college since her military days more than 20 years in her past. She also knew that she needed to finish her associate degree before entering a program to earn her bachelor degree.
But those hurdles would not deter Jensen from reaching her goals.
She chose Centralia College’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Management (BASM) program and met with staff to find out what she needed to do to get enrolled.
Jensen first needed to finish her two-year degree and did so taking classes, mostly online, for five consecutive quarters through South Puget Sound Community College. She graduated with her degree this past summer and did so with an impressive 3.9 GPA.
“My youngest son and I had a competition to see who could get the highest GPA,” Jensen said. “I want to set a good example for my boys, and if I can work full-time, go to school, and then come home and fix dinner, they have no excuse not to do their best.”
Jensen is grateful to have the support of her coworkers and her boss, Solicitor General Noah Purcell, for allowing flexibility in her work schedule while she attends classes two nights a week in the BASM program.
“Kristin is smart, talented, and dedicated, and I am very happy that she can continue her education in the BASM program at Centralia College,” Purcell said. “It seems like a great fit for her, and I am excited that she is pursuing this opportunity.”
Jensen did extensive research when looking at bachelor programs. “I needed to find a program that would fit with work and in my life. The BASM program fit perfectly with the hybrid format, classes just two nights a week and the rest online,” Jensen said. “And with the traffic in Tacoma, commuting to Centralia was an easy choice.”