Online M.S. in Nursing Student Pursues Assignment in Middle East

Cory Hasik in uniform standing hear a helicopter

Like others in her master’s program, Cory Hasik was in a rush to graduate last December.

But unlike others, she had semester courses to finish early so she could pack for an excursion 7,000 miles and seven hours away.

First Sergeant of Indiana Army National Guard, Cory was being deployed to the Middle East as a flight paramedic. As the senior enlisted medical professional of her unit, Cory’s aeromedical evacuation unit is responsible for providing air evacuation of casualties, in her words, “to a higher echelon of care.”

Her specific location and assignment remain classified. “I can say that it is a dynamic environment that changes quickly,” she reported, soon after arriving at her site of deployment. “The operational environment is dynamic due to threat and heightened by COVID-19.”

Ready to Transport and Treat

Cory says her unit is equipped with the tools needed to transport and treat COVID patients.

Leading up to her deployment, Cory worked full time as a telemetry unit nurse at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center in Chicago. She was also enrolled in the Ball State Online master of science in nursing and pursuing the nurse administrator concentration.

Cory wasn’t surprised that Ball State accommodated her military obligations. When she first considered MSN programs in Indiana, she concluded that Ball State University not only “offered one of the state’s highly comprehensive online [nursing] administrator programs” but were also “large supporters of military students.”

She Saw Military Support First-Hand

She was in the middle of a practicum at the Adam Benjamin, Jr. VA Outpatient Clinic in Crown Point, Indiana, when she learned that she would be deployed overseas.

“I was offered the opportunity to complete my clinical requirements in an abbreviated time frame,” says Cory. Course instructor and Ball State associate professor of nursing, Dr. Connie McIntosh, worked with Cory so she could complete clinic hour requirements and a final paper by Dec. 1, before heading to premobilization training.

Nursing Was Opportunity to Change Lives

Cory had entered the nursing field in 2017 after finishing her bachelor’s in nursing, and after five years as a paramedic.

She liked the fact that bedside nursing allows nurses the opportunity to change the lives of their patients. Having served a previous role with a V.A. outpatient clinic and, most recently, with a V.A. medical center, Cory’s goal is to create a future job where she can broaden services to veterans as well as improve policies and processes.

“The military has provided me many leadership development courses,” says Cory. “However, the lessons learned from this master’s program will make me a more well-rounded leader, capable of handling diverse and challenging issues.”

Nursing Team Was Helpful

Cory says Diana Bantz, associate director for graduate nursing programs, and Shantelle Estes, graduate advisor, were also instrumental in helping her finish her semester before her deployment.

A 17-year veteran of the Indiana Army National Guard, this is Cory’s third deployment. She served in Iraq as a clinical medic in 2005-2006 and in Afghanistan as a line medic in 2011-2012.

Confidence, Skills, and a Path Toward a Doctoral Degree

Already having a background in business, Lindsay Peelman was looking for a way to branch her career into the education sector and knew she needed a master’s degree to do so. However, living in a more remote area of California proved difficult to find nearby accredited and focused in-person programs. If she was going to get the education she needed to achieve her career ambitions, she needed to look online. 

Lindsay Peelman

Lindsay did her research. She looked into MBA programs and was accepted into quite a few, but when it came down to the final decision, it was clear that Ball State’s online master’s in business education was the winning choice.

“I was able to tailor it to weigh heavier on education courses and round out my knowledge while closing any gaps that existed,” says Lindsay. “I sat next to another student from the same program at graduation … and we both remarked how amazing it was to come out of the same program feeling confident and prepared for two very different career paths.”

Additionally, the University’s accreditation was another important factor in her decision. Because of this, Lindsay is able to teach in California in both the education and business departments with her degree.

Along with her tailored education, she gained confidence and sharpened skills that she can readily apply to her career as a business and cooperative education instructor and coordinator at Monterey Peninsula College. 

“I feel like as an instructor, I learned how to step back and facilitate instead of lecture,” says Lindsay. “I always left with the understanding of how pivotal a good instructor can be for a student. I carry that with me to every class I teach at the college I work at.”

Lindsay Peelman and Dr. Allen Truell celebrate Lindsay’s graduation from Ball State University

But what may have exceeded her expectations even more was the support and mentorship of Dr. Allen Truell.

Dr. Truell, acknowledged by many students for his support and investment in their futures, continued working with Lindsay even after graduation and recommended her for doctoral study. He gave insights on his experience, input on programs she was considering, and encouragement to fly. 

Through it all, Lindsay found that her educational journey would continue on at New York University where she was accepted into an EdD in Leadership and Innovation at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. 

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