Miami Regionals Student Finds Drive in Online Courses and on the Road

Witten by Carrie Chambers

Close up photo of Miami Regionals online student Kelly Starr

Even in an online course, Kelly Starr makes an impression. “I ride motorcycles at 100 miles per hour, if that tells you anything about my personality,” says the Accounting Technology & Business Management Technology double-major.

Living in Lindenwald, Ohio with 5 horses, 4 pigs, 4 rabbits, 3 cats, 3 kids and her husband, Kelly started classes at Miami in 2013 and retired from auto sales in 2014. “I started classes because I had hit a time in my life that I was genuinely unhappy with my career,” says Kelly. “While it was extremely lucrative, it took me away from my kids a lot. I worked an average of 60 hours per week.”

Because of her work schedule and family commitments, Kelly was looking for flexibility in earning her degree. That’s when she found out about the online programs at Miami Regionals. She says that, “if it weren’t for the online classes at Miami, it would take me 10 years to finish an associate's degree.”

Now that Kelly is entrenched in her program, she’s realized that she prefers the online environment not just for the flexibility it offers, but also for the skills she’s gaining. “Trust me when I tell you I’m learning a lot,” Kelly says. “Not only am I learning coursework, but I’m learning things I’ll need to use in real life.”

She’s using those real life skills to grow “Bang Bang Customs,” a motorcycle customs business in Hamilton that she founded as she started pursuing her degree. While other groups in her online Small Business Management course are creating marketing plans for imaginary companies, Kelly is creating a marketing plan for her actual business. She will be able to see some of her ideas actually put into place as she moves towards opening a storefront in Downtown Hamilton.

Kelly Starr on her motorcycle.

Her advice to other online students isn’t surprising; don’t procrastinate! For her, this means checking her email and courses every morning while she checks her social media and drinks her coffee. She says, “When you’re on in the morning on facebook playing around, click on Canvas and check!”.

When Kelly graduates in 2017, she’ll take with her a 21st Century skill set and a renewed sense of pride as a small business owner. “If I can do it, anyone can do it,” says Kelly, who hopes to set an example for her kids. When speaking about her degrees, Kelly smiles when she says, “this is something that nobody will ever be able to take away from me once I complete it.”

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    Miami University, Oxford Ohio

    Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. With a student body of 16,000, Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with faculty who love to teach and the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.

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    Voice of America Learning Center

    Located midway between Cincinnati and Dayton along I-75, the Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) offers undergraduate and graduate courses and programs drawn from Miami's Regional and Oxford campuses. Home to Miami's MBA program, the Learning Center provides ready access to graduate programs for area educators and courses leading to the BIS degree for undergraduates.

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