UNK’s online Biology M.S. program is a ‘hidden gem’ for students like Rebecca Waters

Posted: September 4, 2023 12:00:00 AM CDT

Woman in scrubs standing in front of nursing school sign.

Four years after Rebecca Water’s graduated from the Biology M.S. program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the biology professors received an email thanking them for their continued support and knowledge that she received throughout the program that ultimately led to her graduating from Troy University’s School of Nursing. 
Waters, originally from Gainesville, Texas, completed high school in Jonesboro, Georgia and her undergraduate from the University of West Georgia as a biology major. She then enlisted in the U.S. Army and has since called Alabama home. 
“I wanted to go to professional school, but I was unsure which route I was going to take or which professional school I was going to go to,” explained Waters. “I got my master’s to help me be more competitive when I applied for professional programs.” 
She found UNK through an advertisement showcasing the university as military friendly. In 2022, UNK tied for 15th in US News & World Report’s “Best Colleges for Veterans” category, topping all other Nebraska schools. 
“All that proved to be really true,” Waters said. “I decided on UNK’s program because they allowed ten years for completion and since I was working full time and active duty, I knew it would take me a while. It is definitely a hidden gem for nontraditional students.” 
The online component was also extremely important to Waters who lived over one thousand miles from campus and was frequently traveling due to her active duty in the military. 
“You could be anywhere and still get your work done,” Waters said. “Being in the military, I really put that to the test. I had to travel all over the place, and I still had assignments.”  

Woman holding lizard during study abroad trip to Brazil.
UNK also gave Waters the opportunity to travel, this time to Brazil for a study abroad experience with other UNK Biology master’s students. The opportunity not only provided Waters to learn more about the wildlife in Brazil but also to meet some of her classmates face to face.  
“I would definitely do it again,” Waters said. “It was cool to converse with other people with like interests as you. I was surprised how diverse my classmates were, beyond ethnicity but with their occupations as well.” 
UNK’s biology courses, professors, and opportunities prepared Waters for her goal of completing professional school.  
“It’s helped me prepare for both military courses and professional courses,” Water said about her time in UNK’s Biology M.S. program. “I would get the more complex, higher-level questions right more often than some of my classmates in my professional school because I was used to thinking critically.” 
Waters graduated from Troy University's School of Nursing in 2022. 
“Because I have a master’s, I qualify for higher pay grade in some positions because even though my nursing degree is an associate’s level, they pay me at my highest degree level because it’s all related to science,” Waters explains. “That will definitely help me financially in the long run.”  

By: Heidi Knake

Category: Natural and Social Sciences, UNK Online, General, Graduate Studies

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