Sarah Stegeman ready to pursue a doctorate in history

Sarah Stegeman and Candace Meserole, Online Coordinator ENG-HIS-PHIL
Sarah Stegeman, History grad, with online coordinator Candace Meserole

Like so many online students—probably most online students—Sarah Stegeman had a full and rich life before beginning classes through UIS Online.

A resident of Lakemoor, IL, she completed her bachelor’s degree in History while working fulltime at Follett School Solutions, volunteering at the Lake County Discovery Museum and acting as the Vice President of the Board for Free Guitars for Future Stars.

“All this was possible,” she says, “because of the support I received from my husband, daughter, and family.”

Her experience at UIS

Sarah heard about UIS Online as she was completing her associate’s degree at the College of Lake County. She took her first course at UIS in 2013. “I wanted to complete my BA,” she says, “so that I could pursue a career which I enjoyed and provide a better life for my family.”

She says there hasn’t been a course at UIS she didn’t enjoy. Particularly noteworthy:

  • Dr. Kent’s Women’s U.S. History was particularly good (this was her first course at UIS);
  • Dr. Kosmetatou’s Cleopatra’s Egypt was a lot of fun;
  • Dr. Barnwell’s Nationalism and Imperialism was very insightful and enjoyable;
  • Dr. Murphy’s Sex, Gender, and Pop Culture was fascinating and exciting; and
  • Dr. Owen’s Intellectual History of the American Revolution was challenging and fun.

“The professors have been extremely helpful,” she says. “The classes are challenging and push you to work hard, and the ability to attend class as your schedule demands is invaluable.”

One surprise and one suggestion

To those who picture online learning as a task of lonely isolation, Sarah says her experience doesn’t support that image.

“I have made great friendships, found fantastic mentors, and have made relationships which will last beyond my time at UIS,” she says. “That is something which I never expected, but which has been one of the best things about attending UIS—the people.”

Her only suggestion for improving the program is to increase the number of courses available each semester. “There are several on-campus courses I would have loved to be able to take,” she says.

Next stop: Syracuse, New York

This fall, Sarah will be attending Syracuse University to pursue a Ph.D. in History. She plans to focus on Early American Women’s History and Atlantic Women’s History (a field that studies the interaction of continents that border the Atlantic with colonies in the new world). This summer, she says she’ll be packing for the move east.

Sarah appreciates the rigor of UIS online and is happy to recommend the online programs to others. “UIS is one of the University of Illinois schools,” she explains, “so it has high standards for the online programs. The classes are not meant to churn out degrees, but are focused on ensuring the student is learning and is able to achieve the high standards which University of Illinois campuses are known for.”

You can find some her scholarly writing featured at this Academia website.

Two pieces of advice from Sarah:

  • If you focus on the bad things, that is all you will see.
  • If you’re ever in the Chicago area, go to Lou Malnati’s, reputed to have the best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, and order the butter crust deep dish pizza!