2009 GetEducated.com Online College Grant Winner: Paul Kopulos
Bachelor of Science in Humane Leadership
Paul Kopulos, 41, has been granted a $1,000 GetEducated Excellence in Online Education Scholarship.
He's loved animals all his life. Now he's learning new ways to help them—and he's doing this through online education, with help from GetEducated.com.
Paul is finishing a Bachelor of Science degree in "humane leadership"—which doesn't mean he is learning to be a nice leader. Instead, this distance degree will help him run animal shelters or hold other animal welfare and advocacy jobs. The degree is the result of a partnership between the Humane Society of the U.S. and Paul's school, Duquesne University (a non-profit, private Catholic school based in Pittsburgh).
Paul lives in Vermont, where he cares for a two-month-old son and a two-year-old daughter, plus two shelter dogs and a shelter cat.
Once he graduates, says Paul, he may want to open an animal shelter. "I'm not really sure yet. There are so many things you can do in the animal field."
For example, as part of his degree, Paul took courses and became certified in the treatment of "compassion fatigue," which affects animal workers who deal with ill or dying animals. Paul says he may use this certification to train workers in nearby shelters.
For Paul, attending an online school worked perfectly with his hectic lifestyle.
"With the kids and everything else going on in my life, I can do my school when I need to," says Paul. "I can take an exam at midnight or 1 a.m."
He also liked being able to meet adult students in his program who live in other parts of the country.
"I have a wide variety of contacts now," he says. "I know people from Canada, California, Michigan, Florida. You get a different view from all these different people, different than if I had just gone down the street to the University of Vermont."
GetEducated awards several distance learning scholarships for online students each year. The competitive online university grants are based on grade point average, a written essay and demonstrated financial need.
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