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College of Human Ecology

Non-traditional student earns Global Campus honor

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Growing up, Karolyn Barclay, Pomona, loved her teachers and knew someday she wanted to inspire and educate children in the same way. As an adult, she began working in a preschool, where she realized her calling to provide young children with the same supportive learning environment she had as a child.

Karolyn BarclayIn May she graduated with an online bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She was selected as the 2014 K-State Global Campus Extraordinary Student and was named an outstanding graduating senior in the College of Human Ecology.

While working toward her degree, Barclay overcame several personal obstacles, which she never let hinder her degree progress. Her grandson was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, which resulted in various malformations and physical deformities.

"My grandson required 24-hour care, and my son needed my support and attention during this difficult time in his life," Barclay said. "For several years, I worked during the day and studied at night. I made many sacrifices to complete my education."

Melissa Thomas, instructor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services, said Barclay continued to excel in her classes despite her personal obstacles.

"Even with many trials, she continued to turn in every assignment on time, and every assignment went well above and beyond what many other students complete," Thomas said.

Barclay has accepted an early childhood special education teaching position in Ottawa.

"I feel like this is my dream job and feel very blessed to get the opportunity to teach in this district immediately following graduation," Barclay said. "I have also applied for the master's program at K-State and plan to begin courses in the upcoming fall semester. My goals include advocating for and supporting early childhood programs in my community as well as at the state level, regulating and maintaining quality early childhood programs across Kansas."

"I was so focused on my education and doing my best at all times, it didn't occur to me that anyone else had noticed," she added.

This article was posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.