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Teneka Duke

Teneka Duke

BAAS in business administration

2005 graduate of Texas A&M Commerce

How did you decide you wanted to get your degree?

I graduated from high school, got married, and had a family by the time I was 21. I had a really nice job for a rural community, so I didn't go right into college. But as I progressed in my career I realized that education was going to be an important component. My friend, who was also my boss at the time, encouraged me to get my education. So I enrolled in college and it took me 14 years to earn my degree.

Did you enroll in the BAAS program right from the beginning?/ What was your education journey like?

I started out at Paris Junior College and earned my associate's degree there. Then I transferred to Texas A&M Commerce. I was taking anywhere from 3 to 6 hours at a time. When I had 21 hours left, I went to see an adviser who told me about the BAAS program. It was a perfect fit for me. I was able to apply my work experience and it enabled me to finish my degree in two semesters instead of two more years at the pace I was going.

Why did you choose the BAAS over another degree?

There were two very attractive components. Number one, I could use my work experience. Number two, I could take my classes online. Before I enrolled in the BAAS program, I was a commuter student driving 50 minutes each way. But the BAAS offered online classes, which made it so much easier for me to do.

How did you pay for your education?

My employers were very pro-education and the ability to take college classes is a part of my benefits package. I always tell people to check with their employers. A lot of people don't know that their employers will pay for college. But even if your employer doesn't cover it, look at funding opportunities though grants. Talk to your college. Ask them about educational grants. They have a lot of that kind of information.

What advice do you have for others thinking about returning to college?

Number one, don't back away from it just because you might not know all the ins and outs. It's a learning process.

Working with an adviser is very important. If I didn't understand something or if I needed more information, the college was always very helpful.

Have a good support system. I could not have done it without the support of my family.