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College of Human Ecology

FSHS distance student earns top essay award

Friday, December 12, 2014

Rebecca Sombatchareun, Pleasanton, describes herself as a mom, a daughter and a K-Stater with a passion for helping families.

A nontraditional Kansas State University student, Sombatchareun is an example of the sandwich generation. She graduates Saturday with a bachelor's degree in family studies and human services, all while balancing education with her duties as a mother of three and caretaker of her father.

Rebecca Sombatchareum

Rebecca Sombatchareun

She became interested in a career in family studies while working at Keys for Networking, a nonprofit organization serving parents and youth with emotional, behavioral and educational disabilities.

"I wanted to work with families in crisis, families that need someone to help them navigate their way through the tough times," she said. "During my time with Keys, I developed a passion for helping these families, but I knew that I needed more education in order to be an effective resource for them."

Sombatchareun looked for a bachelor's program that would also prepare her for a graduate degree and found Kansas State University to be the perfect fit. She minored in conflict analysis and trauma studies.

"I would have never even considered going back to school for my degree without the option of distance learning," she said. "No matter where I am, all I need is an Internet connection and I'm plugged in to K-State."

Through sharing her university story and passion for people, Sombatchareun won first place in a distance learning essay contest through K-State Global Campus this fall.

"This last semester has been the most challenging," she said. "At any given moment, you could have found me watching baseball, football or basketball practice with my laptop in tow, studying between cheers of encouragement, or making the 45-minute drive to my daughter's gymnastics practice with my ear buds attached to my tablet, listening to a lecture."

With family a heavy focus, Sombatchareun is amazed at the way she has become a part of the Kansas State University family and developed a feeling of belonging, even though she has never set foot on the university's campus in person.

"I have been a member of several honor societies at K-State," she said. "Kappa Omicron Nu, the honor society for human ecology, and Sigma Alpha Lambda are two that I keep a close relationship with because their purposes are close to my heart."

Sombatchareun hopes to begin a graduate program next year.

This article was posted on Friday, December 12, 2014, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.