Local couple turn to BASM for career growth

Chris and Doreen Dickinson
Chris and Doreen Dickinson

Chris Dickinson retired from the U.S. Navy where he served as a nuclear mechanic operator. He turned his military experience into a career at TransAlta as a water systems supervisor. This may be a solid career for many but Dickinson is looking for more.

He and his wife Doreen have a six-year-old daughter, Alyssa. He knew that if he wanted to advance and to afford a better life for his family, a bachelor’s degree could make a big difference.

The Centralia College Bachelor of Applied Science in Management (BASM) degree presented the path to get him what he wanted. The program, in a hybrid format, is structured so he can keep his job, earn a quality degree, and not have to relocate with his family. He enrolled in the first class cohort in 2012 and, along with 25 classmates, will receive his bachelor’s degree this June.

“Even though I have had to schedule time for homework, taking classes two evenings a week with the rest of the course work online is very family friendly,” Dickinson said.

While the bachelor’s degree program was structured to his liking, tuition expenses needed to be addressed. Dickinson was able to tap into TransAlta’s tuition assistance program, he found financial aid support he was able to tap into, and he landed a scholarship.

But there’s another half to this story….

His wife, Doreen, had suffered a life-threatening injury when she was thrown from a horse in 2001. She overcame her injuries and during her recovery she began to think about her future and the role of education.

She turned to Centralia College and its nursing program.

She was taking classes to become a nurse but then changed focus. She earned her associate degree in 2012, and with encouragement from Chris, entered the BASM program in fall 2013.

“Chris knew the program would be a good fit for me,” Doreen said. “I still face challenges from my accident, but everyone is so supportive.”

And the move into BASM has already paid dividends.

“Being in the program gave me the confidence I needed to apply for a new job, and now because of BASM, I have a much better job,” Doreen said. She moved from working as a pharmacy technician into a position with the law firm of Olson, Althauser, Samuelson, & Rayan, LLP.

“We knew that choosing a BASM student would be a good idea, and we’ll certainly do it again,” attorney and law partner Todd Rayan said. “BASM students are educated and hardworking.”

The future of the BASM couple looks bright. Chris, with encouragement from the college BASM faculty, is considering continuing toward his master’s in business or going on to law school.

The two have turned education into a family affair and likely will find a way to turn their education into new careers.

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