SPGS graduate profile: Kimberley Sanchez, Leslie Davis and Amber Alacantara
Overland Park, Kan. — The Baker University experience at the Overland Park campus has been a family affair for Kimberley Sanchez and her two daughters, Leslie Davis and Amber Alcantara.
Intrigued after attending an informational meeting about Baker’s programs for working adults, Kimberley and Leslie decided to enroll two years ago at the School of Professional and Graduate Studies Overland Park campus. Leslie wanted to learn more about the bachelor's degree programs and Kimberley was there to support her youngest daughter. While at the meeting, Kimberley received details on the Master of Business Administration program and was hooked immediately. Soon after the coursework began Leslie persuaded her sister, Amber Alcantara, to transfer to Baker and enroll in an associate’s degree program. In photo, from left: Amber, Kimberley and Leslie.
On Saturday, Leslie will receive a Bachelor of Science in Management degree at Baker University’s 1 p.m. commencement ceremony before Kimberley walks across the stage after receiving her Master of Business Administration degree at the 4:30 p.m. ceremony. Amber has another class to complete before graduating with an Associate of Arts in Business degree. She plans to participate in the December commencement ceremony.
“We have been looking forward to the commencement ceremonies for a long time,” said Kimberley, a payment specialist at Sprint. “It has been a difficult journey but well worth it.”
While she attended class on Wednesday evenings and studied many other nights, Kimberley sacrificed time away from her husband and son, who often fended for themselves.
“Being the perfectionist that I am, I spent a significant amount of time on homework and projects,” she said. “My husband and son have been very supportive. The team format utilized by Baker is a great benefit as each team member is supported by the others. I learned from my teammates as well as the instructors. This made it much easier to balance all the aspects of my life. Having a good support system made it much easier to succeed in obtaining my MBA.”
With an MBA, Kimberley plans to explore new career opportunities at Sprint.
“My long-range goals are to reach a management position within the Sprint fraud analysis group within the next two years,” she said.
Leslie, a license monitor for a Johnson County Contractor Licensing, also has aspirations after obtaining her bachelor’s degree. She prefers a career in graphic design for a magazine or a job in an advertising or marketing firm.
“Had I not attended the informational meeting with my mother that day two years ago I probably would still not have begun classes for my bachelor’s degree,” said Leslie, a single mother of a young child. “Once again my mother deserves all the credit for encouraging me to do better and be better.”
Leslie had received an associate’s degree online from another university before enrolling at Baker. It took her awhile to adjust to the weekly class format.
“Going from sitting at home and completing assignments at my own leisure to coming to class every Tuesday and required to complete class assignments was a little difficult at first,” Leslie said. “Having an instructor and classmates in the same room is extremely helpful.”
Leslie appreciated the Baker instructors keeping the students involved in classroom discussions.
“It took me a while to understand the importance of teamwork and group participation,” she said. “This has helped me in several aspects of my life, including both professional and personal.”
Before transferring to Baker, Amber took online classes at another university. She listened to her sister, who encouraged her to consider Baker.
“My sister mentioned how great it was to be able to attend class in a semitraditional classroom setting and she enjoyed working with a variety of different people,” she said. “I knew that this program would benefit me more in gaining the knowledge I needed to achieve my goal. I felt that attending such a credible university such as Baker was an opportunity that I just could not turn down. I was able to bond and develop relationships with great students and peers.”
Married with a young daughter, Amber also juggled her class schedule with her personal and professional life. She has worked in retail management for more than six years.
After she receives her associate’s degree, she plans to transition to Baker’s Bachelor of Science in Management program.
“Throughout my career I have been looking to increase the variety of work experience,” she said. “However, the one obstacle I encounter is having no degree. This is one of the many reasons that I am attending college at Baker now.”
Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.