Persistence is an important characteristic of any successful graduate. But few students have exhibited this trait to the extent that Wings student Barbara Shantz, ’17, has – she will complete her degree in business administration 17 years after she started at Meredith.
A native of Ontario, Canada, Barbara has worked for an international non-governmental organization, Trans World Radio (TWR), since 1999, and has attended Meredith since 2000. She took a six-year break from Meredith in 2003, when she was asked by her employer to move to Europe. There she researched how to raise funds locally instead of depending entirely on foreign funds.
“In 2009 I returned to work on a plan to implement the concepts globally and then also continued to work part-time on my business degree.”
Back at Meredith, with the guidance and support of her faculty, Barbara deepened her learning by conducting undergraduate research, which she presented on Celebrating Student Achievement Day. Her faculty were essential to helping her manage the challenges of combining school with a job that required extensive travel. And she counted on them to help her navigate unfamiliar subjects, or those she had not studied for some time, as was the case in her first math class.
“Our professor asked when I had last studied math. It had been 27 years. With excellent teaching, I was able to get the top mark in the class that semester.”
While at Meredith, Barbara studied abroad, traveling to Peru with the School of Business. Her own extensive travels through her work made her appreciate her study abroad experience all the more. And she thrived in the women’s college environment.
“In our all-women classrooms, the issues of gender are set aside to focus on learning and developing our minds. The concern for ethics and global tolerance at Meredith help us to develop our passions for good.”
Given that Barbara has spent so many years completing her degree, it is perhaps surprising (or perhaps not) that she already has tentative plans to pursue her next one. She has received a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in organizational leadership.
“Since I was accepted in November of 1999, I’ve watched Meredith go through many changes and I’ve also gone through many changes,” said Barbara. “We’ve both become stronger and more confident in our future.”
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