Fordham Notes: Lauren Carter, PCS '12, "Blends" Learning

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lauren Carter, PCS '12, "Blends" Learning

Lauren Carter attended three Fordham campuses and took online classes to get her degree.
When Lauren Carter, PCS '12, graduated from high school, she was accepted at New York University. She spent two years in college, but then life happened. She gave birth to twin girls. For a moment she tried to return to school, but she quickly realized that working, raising toddlers, and taking classes was too much.

"I don’t regret my decision, it shaped me into the person I am today," she said.

She carried on with her career, eventually rising to the position of deputy city clerk with the City of Mount Vernon's planning office. It was only after her girls approached middle school age that she decided to go back.

She went to Fordham's new Westchester campus in West Harrison through the School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS), majoring in English.

Carter's degree exemplifies Fordham's approach to blended learning, which brings together the three New York area campuses and online coursework to help students achieve their goals in a rich and timely manner.

"The campuses have three personalities," she said, describing Westchester as perfect for adult learners, in contrast to Rose Hill's vibrant student life and Lincoln Center's urban pace. But it was the online campus that touched her in surprising ways.

"I took a philosophical ethics class online, and I was so fascinated by the subject matter that I even thought about getting my master's in philosophy," she said.

Carter said the online version of common core courses like Faith and Critical Reasoning required intense concentration. 

"You absolutely have to be focused and you have to use the discussion board," she said. "You get to see other peoples' views--not necessarily in the classroom--but you are in on the conversation."

As she neared the end of her degree, professors and professionals, on- and off-campus, began to tell her that she had "lawyer potential." Initially she shrugged it off. She debated getting a master's degree in public administration (MPA), in urban planning, economic development, and, of course, philosophy.

"I really vacillated between an MPA and a master's in philosophy, but I decided on law," she said. "You can do anything when you go to law school."

With her twins now 14 years old, she said she's trying to keep her law school options local. There is one Jesuit institution that tops her list . . . but for now, she's concentrating on the LSATs.

Tom Stoelker

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