Student Spotlight: Rita Kuzmenko
Major: Associate in Arts
Rita Kuzmenko took the fast track with her education.
With children who were 9 and 7, Kuzmenko knew she couldn't leave them several days a week. Plus she wanted to stay close to home. When she discovered the Adult Fast Track program at College of DuPage, she knew it was tailor-made for her needs.
“The evening program fit nicely into my schedule, and the Westmont Center was close to my home,” she said. “I liked the fact that I had cohorts in the program and we motivated, cheered and encouraged each other. They were a huge help in keeping me focused on finishing the program.
“I had to take a low-level algebra class to prepare me for the college math course required in the Fast Track program. My son was in seventh grade when I was taking my algebra course, and it seemed that I was one step ahead of him and was able to help him in algebra. After dinner each night, the kids and I would sit at the dining room table and do our homework. Those are great memories for me, as it was a wonderful way for us to spend time together and help each other. Also, the kids couldn’t complain about doing homework as they saw me doing homework as well.”
Kuzmenko graduated with her Associate in Arts degree in 2007. From there she attended Boston University through their online degree completion program and received a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree. She then began her graduate program at Purdue University as part of the first group of students in the online Master’s of Education in Learning Design and Technology program, earning her degree in 2013.
Kuzmenko is working with Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield to create a new tele-health program. She also started her own company, Gentle Technology Guidance, which provides technology support to seniors.
“My focus is to help seniors learn how to use and be comfortable with the technology they have and help them choose products they are interested in,” she said. “Some of the services I have provided so far are helping seniors create, read and send emails. I taught one customer how to switch between her DVD player and television. I’m giving regular lessons for a couple on their Mac. I’ve performed computer clean-ups, hooked up Wi-Fi routers and reset passwords on modems. I’ve instructed customers on how to use their cell phones, e-readers and tablets.”
Kuzmenko, whose daughter transferred from College of DuPage to Northern Illinois University, is now an adjunct instructor at COD teaching computer courses. She thanks the Adult Fast Track program for providing the education she needed in a format that fit her schedule.
“The Fast Track program is created to better fit into the schedule of working adults. However, the courses are not easier and, in fact, students are often doing the work of an entire semester in one eight-week course. Prioritization is crucial,” she said. “But when a person finishes the program, they have truly earned their degree. The Fast Track Program prepared me well for the degrees I earned afterward.”
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