Bachelor of Applied Science Students See Success

Jennifer Ackerman and Pedro Rampolla who are in BAS programs at LCCC

Despite a year of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first year of the Bachelor of Applied Science programs at Laramie County Community College has been a massive success.

There are two programs under the BAS umbrella: Healthcare Administration and Applied Management. These two programs are intended for students who want a degree to further their current careers into administrative or managerial positions.

The programs are designed for students who have already received an associate of applied science degree.

Healthcare management provides a foundation for students' business skills, as well as teaches them about healthcare-specific content—such as accounting, resource management, laws and policies—in order to help the graduates successfully navigate the challenges of management in the healthcare industry.

Applied management instead provides comprehensive business knowledge. Students in the program learn about accounting, finance and operations, and strategy and analysis. They explore ethical decision-making and human resources management, as well as marketing, communication and project management.

The benefits to students getting a bachelor's degree at LCCC is they can earn a higher degree for the cost of an associate, plus they can keep working full-time while taking classes online with local instructors.

Students only take two classes at a time, but they take their classes at an accelerated rate over an eight-week period, explained Danielle Opp, interim program director for healthcare management.

Additionally, people with a bachelor's degree are less likely to be unemployed and they tend to earn, on average, $17,524 more per year than those with an associate degree.

Healthcare management student Jennifer Ackerman graduated from LCCC in 1994 with an associate degree in radiology and has been using that degree while working at Cheyenne Radiology Group & MRI for the last two decades.

But when she found out LCCC was offering a bachelor's program, she was determined to be in the first cohort.

"My technical skills in radiology far exceed what I ever imagined, but with this program, I would be able to learn the administrative side of the profession I love," Jennifer said. "The fact that, if selected for the program, I could attend class without having to travel, I could continue working and be at home for my family made this seem like the opportunity of a lifetime."

At first, it was a bit of a struggle for Jennifer to adjust to the technological advances that came with the program, but with help from her instructors and classmates, she has managed to work her way to earning a 4.0 GPA.

Pedro Rampolla, an applied management student, had just finished up his associate degree at LCCC and was trying to figure out his next steps in life. He'd been looking into BAS programs in the region, but when he found out that LCCC was offering exactly what he was looking for, he jumped on the opportunity.

"This has been so great," he said. "I've been working full-time while doing this program and I know a lot of my classmates are in the same boat. I appreciate being able to review a concept in class and then the next day, I can apply those concepts in my job as an IT systems administrator."

Both students agreed that even while working full-time, they have been excelling in their courses.

The first year has been such a success that the programs have been expanded, going from 30 students in the first cohort (15 per program) to 50 students in the fall 2021 semester, according to Jeff Shmidl, applied management interim program director.