Student juggles studies, personal challenges to earn degree
Baldwin City, Kan. — Skye Gale learned how to balance her life responsibilities and prioritize while pursuing a degree from Baker University's School of Professional and Graduate Studies in Topeka, Kan.
In a six-month span, Gale gave birth to a child, got married and gained custody of her foster daughter while working full time and going to school. At 1 p.m. Saturday at the Collins Center on the Baldwin City campus, she will be recognized as a member of Baker's Class of 2013 for earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
"I have been raised to know that college is what is best for the future," said Gale, who started the BBA program in August 2011 when she was seven months pregnant. "I never doubted I wanted to get a degree, and I didn't want to put it off. I knew I was capable of doing all of those things together. Thank goodness Baker worked with me. I would not have been able to succeed without their accommodating program."
Gale's daughter, Addison, is now 18 months old. Gale missed one class three days after delivering Addison before returning to her classes. Her classmates often met at her home to complete projects.
"My group was awesome and was willing to work with me," said Gale, who is a department assistant for behavioral health services at Stormont-Vail West in Topeka. "Baker's program worked really well with my work schedule and my pregnancy. It was challenging to take care of a newborn while finishing school."
Gale became aware of Baker's program through her mother, Jeanne Bunting, who completed the BBA program three years ago and will receive a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Baker during the second commencement ceremony on Saturday. Gale's husband, Dustin, plans to begin the BBA program this fall.
"We are a Baker family," said Gale, who plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker later this year. "My mom is a huge Baker fan after graduating from there. I was learning a little bit about the Baker program and decided two years ago that it was a good time to start. I didn't want to wait too long, and I wanted to do it for my daughter."
Gale's favorite class during the BBA program was business law, where she learned about contracting, something she is considering to pursue as a career.
"I was fascinated by what I was learning in the classroom," she said. "I am looking forward to using the information in real life. I want to make sure I am happy with what I am doing for my career."
Despite all the challenges along the way to earning a degree, Gale never doubted she would complete the program.
"I wanted to be successful in the classroom," she said. "Trying to achieve your goals and manage homework and your personal life can be a struggle. The further you get in the program the better you know what is expected of you and you become motivated to finish."