Mason City, IA

A promise to her father started Nancy Lund down the path to a Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) degree. Lund, who was 51 years old at the time she started her degree, had never attended college before pursuing her Bachelor’s. 

“My dad died suddenly in May 2011, and I’d always promised him that I’d get a bachelor’s degree,” Lund says. “His death made me realize just how short life can be, so I set out to keep the promise I’d made to him so many years ago.”

Lund first completed her associate’s degree at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), graduating with her youngest son in 2014. She spent a semester at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh online before finding the BAS program at the University of Iowa

“Taking online course work was a challenge at first, but I quickly grew accustomed to posting on discussion boards and interacting with my classmates online,” she says. Lund was also reassured to discover just how many individuals were going back to finish degrees begun before life interceded. 

Taking course work online allowed Lund to carry anywhere from six to nine credit hours per semester, while working full time as a case manager at the Mason City Child Support Recovery Unit, a division of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). In this position, she is responsible for intergovernmental enforcement of child support where one parent lives in another state or country. Lund interprets child support orders, performs balance calculations, and attempts to locate non-custodial parents and their assets. The position is demanding, with a caseload that averages 1,000 cases at a time. Having a bachelor’s degree will now allow Lund to apply for the many positions within DHS that require one.

Perhaps the greatest joy comes from knowing it’s never too late to keep a promise.

“I have never been so proud of myself as when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma,” Lund says. “Knowing that my mom was in the audience along with my children made the moment special, and although my dad wasn’t in the audience, I know he was watching as well.”