Caitlin Boucher, Class of 2020

Unforeseen circumstances during her sophomore year led Caitlin Boucher to put her psychology degree on hold. Today, the mom of two toddlers is finishing her degree thanks to the flexibility of the University's online programs.

Picking Up Where She Left Off

Caitlin Boucher started at Rivier University right after high school in 2008. Unforeseen circumstances during her sophomore year led her to put her psychology degree on hold.

Life progressed. She started a family and began working for the police department, first answering 9-1-1 calls, then working with records. Now in the IT department, Caitlin says she loves her job and serving her community, but realized if she were to be considered for a supervisory role, she’d need a bachelor’s degree.

She knew, without question, she’d return to Rivier.

“I grew up in the area and have always wanted to go to Rivier, and I had such a positive experience the first time,” she says. “I felt comfortable there.”

But how to fit college into her busy life? Caitlin works, her husband’s work hours are unpredictable, and they’re parents to two toddlers.

The Flexibility to Finish

Caitlin explored Rivier’s online programs and a bachelor’s degree in psychology was among the degree options. She could finish what she started.

The enrollment process was seamless, says Caitlin. A generous transfer-credit policy allowed Riv to apply many of the course credits from her previous program toward her new degree, saving her significant time (and tuition).

A flexible schedule and ability to self-pace her assignments have been instrumental in her goal of earning a degree without disrupting the rhythm of her everyday life.

“I can work at ten at night or on a Sunday afternoon, whenever is easiest for me. I like being able to make my own hours and appreciate that the workload is manageable,” she says.

Attending courses online also hasn’t stood in the way of getting to know her classmates. She says the discussion board interactions are lively, and through the platform, students get to know one another. “You learn their writing style and start to recognize classmates even though you’ve never met them in person,” she says.

Learning About the Community She Serves

It’s perhaps fate that Caitlin ended up working with the police department. During Caitlin’s first experience at Riv, her adolescent psychology course gave her hands-on experience volunteering with the PAL program. PAL—which stands for Police Athletic League—is an after-school educational and recreational program that serves more than 2,000 children each year.

She’s continuing to learn more about her hometown and home state, which she says will be helpful when she starts to work with the public more. She found the Drugs and Behavior course with Dr. Lizzie Harwood, Assistant Professor and Psychology Department Coordinator, to be especially relevant to her current job.

“We learned how big the drug epidemic is in general, and what New Hampshire is doing to fight it,” she says. “It was enlightening.”

Although the straight-A student was dreading a course in bioethics, it ended up being one of her most positive experiences. Her professor, Dr. Jerome Schmelzer, “created a safe zone where we could give our opinions.” Listening to varying viewpoints is undoubtedly helpful to a field such as hers, as were the public health classes she took.

The Next Challenge

Now that she’s nearing graduation, Caitlin says she is still happy with her decision to return to Rivier and reiterates how the program, faculty, and staff made her transition easy and degree completion possible.

“It’s a great program,” she says. “It makes me want to continue on to earn my master’s!”

Will earning your degree get you that next big promotion?  Learn more about the B.A. in Psychology that provided Caitlin a flexible path to completion and the ability to advance her career.