Business Administration Student of the Year Took Winding Journey to Award

Tiffany Rademacher was named Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies’ Student of the Year in May 2018.

Years before receiving the award, Rademacher was a married mother of one looking for a business program that would allow her the flexibility to work odd hours as a nurse and still go to school.

She decided to attend Drury’s 100% online Bachelor of Business Administration program. Now a graduate of the program, Rademacher is thankful for the experience and is interviewing for hospital administration and managerial positions.

“It was awesome, just awesome. All the instructors were amazing,” Rademacher said in regard to the program.

Rademacher had always struggled with traditional seated lectures, so being able to take classes online helped with her overall success.

“I’m not that good with lectures,” she said. “The online classes were great because I was still having those interactions with my classmates, and still getting my instructor’s attention, but on my own schedule.”

Rademacher says she did school work from almost anywhere using the University’s Moodle phone app. Whether it was posting to a discussion board while waiting for dinner or editing a classmate’s work while a passenger on a long drive, Drury made it easy for her to complete her assignments when she had time.

Drury uses the Moodle learning management system for all of its online classes.

“I used the Moodle app for everything,” she says. “We’d go sit and have a drink somewhere, and if my husband was talking to his friends, I’d just pop in a discussion board and add a response. It was so handy.”

Rademacher, who is also an LPN who attended Washington School of Practical Nursing in Washington, Missouri, had originally intended to continue her education and become a registered nurse. But, after enrolling in a program that she says turned out to be a scam, she shifted her focus to business.

“I knew business administration was a degree that would open more doors. It has a broader career focus,” she said.

At the time that she decided to go back to school, Rademacher was working nights and weekends as a charge nurse in a skilled nursing facility. Her husband, Cleatus, on the other hand, was working a normal day shift.

“We barely saw each other,” she said. “It was hard to get life goals accomplished.” The work was also wearing on Rademacher physically. “I was exhausted. I couldn’t function,” she said.

Rademacher first settled on a bachelor’s in business program at a public university over an hour and half drive from her home in Owensville, Missouri. After a semester of driving three hours two days a week for class, she decided these classes wouldn’t work as schedules would become more complex for the program. The university didn’t offer an online business program, so she looked elsewhere.

That’s when her husband’s friend brought up Drury’s 100% online business administration program over dinner one night.

“The way it worked out was a total blessing,” Rademacher says. “I was getting ready to change jobs and we went out to a friend’s house, and he happened to go to Drury.”

“He was really positive about it. It sounded really wonderful,” she says. “That’s what got us thinking about Drury.”

Although she enrolled in a 100% online degree program, Rademacher was still able to receive advising from Kerstin Ellis, the site coordinator at Drury's Rolla campus. When she started working as a home health nurse in Rolla, it got even easier for Rademacher to receive in-person guidance.

“I would get off of work, and then come over and work on my schedule,” she said. Ellis made the transfer process seamless for Rademacher. “I was able to transfer everything. That whole process with Kerstin went really well.”

As Rademacher was wrapping up her degree at Drury in spring 2018, she got a call from Ellis.

“She invited me to a luncheon,” said Rademacher. “At first I thought, ‘I have to work that day,’ but Kerstin was persistent. So, I checked with my husband and he said, ‘You know, they probably want to give you something if they’re calling you.’”

Sure enough, Rademacher was being invited to Drury’s Outstanding Student Luncheon on its main campus in Springfield to receive her Student of the Year award.

“It was a fun day,” said Rademacher. “It was interesting to get there and meet some of my professors face to face. I didn’t know why I was there until I arrived; it was definitely a neat experience.”

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