Meet Heather Keith, ‘22
Heather Keith is living proof you can have it all. In addition to being a mother to three children (ages 14, 12, and 9), a wife of 16 years, AND a full-time family law paralegal, Heather was also a full-time student. Heather was able to juggle all aspects of her life these past few years thanks in large part to UNG’s online degree program. In fact, Heather is a PSIA “pioneer” of sorts by being the first student at UNG to complete her entire Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree through this newly-instituted formal undergraduate program — having graduated in August 2022.
Heather graduated from high school almost two decades ago — in 2003. She then got her Associate’s degree in sociology from UNG utilizing the traditional on-campus route. And began her career as a para-legal with a firm specializing in family law. Along the way, she realized she liked learning how government works and the “ins-and-outs of politics.” She enjoys hearing people’s views and understanding why they have the opinions that they do. She also likes a “good, healthy debate.” These interests led her to our political science degree program.
UNG was the only college Heather considered for her bachelor’s degree. It was close to her home for when she wanted to come onto campus. She appreciated the convenience that allowed her to devote attention to all facets of her busy life. The ability to complete her bachelor’s degree entirely online without sacrificing her obligations to her family and job was a key factor in her decision.
From Heather’s perspective, PSIA’s online bachelor’s program has both positives and negatives. While being an online student requires discipline and self-control, the program allows the flexibility to be able to dedicate time to schoolwork on one’s own schedule. Also, in her case, the program allowed her to use her job as a paralegal to fulfill the internship requirement. She received a total of 9 credit hours — six one semester and three another semester –by using her real-life experience at her family law job as coursework. In her own words, “the internship made me hyperaware of what I was doing in the real world and what I was doing in my job … and that benefitted me.”
Heather is convinced her newly-earned degree, and the journey to earn it, has made her a better employee and a better mother because she can provide insights in many facets of the political realm to her job and to her children. She states that many of the topics covered during her coursework, such as legal fields, court systems, jurisdiction, and venue are pivotal in her job.
In terms of advice to prospective students, Heather highly recommends UNG: “You can do everything online, but that doesn’t prevent you from going on campus.” Online students still have access to campus resources and can participate in all campus activities. For example, she served as the Vice President of the Politically Incorrect Club (now The Nighthawks Politics Club) during the 2016-17 academic year. In her opinion, both on campus and online programs have benefits, and the beauty is you can switch from one to the other if or when your life situation changes.
In her free time, which she now has a bit more of since finishing her undergraduate degree program, Heather enjoys attending concerts and sporting events. And although her undergraduate degree is barely in her review mirror, she is already contemplating pursuing a master’s degree — most likely fully online.
[See the full interview with Heather on our YouTube channel at: PSIA_Student_Heather Keith_Political Science / Fully On-line]