Distance Masters degree European

Online Learning Programs Provide Degrees Despite Distance

By Shayna Brouker and Maria Farias

Adrien Zap, plopped down on the bed, sighed and opened her laptop. Just the day before, she was shuttling supplies to veterinarians scrambling to soothe traumatized pets left behind by the hundreds of people that died or fled from Sendai, Japan, hit hardest by a tsunami last March. She settled in a hotel room in Tokyo, trying her best to review notes and complete assignments between aftershocks that continued to shake the hotel.

As part of a disaster relief response team for an organization called World Vets, she spent seven exhausting days reuniting pets with their owners and helping local veterinarians find scarce food and supplies for injured and abandoned animals.

But now, it was time to study. After all, Zap, a Connecticut resident, had a final exam to take on March 30, more than 7, 000 miles away in Gainesville, Fla. This was the last step to completing her University of Florida online master’s of science degree from the College of Pharmacy in forensic toxicology.

It wasn’t the first time she had to cram on the fly, literally; Zap applied to the program while conducting undergraduate research in the Galapagos Islands in fall of 2009. She spent summer 2010 in Ecuador, completed assignments in a hotel in Nicaragua, where she was working in a lab, and she took a final exam in a hotel room in the Dominican Republic.

“It’s weird, I haven’t stopped to think that I’ve been traveling most of the time I’ve been in school. My passport has definitely got some miles on it, ” she mused. “The flexibility is the best part of the program. I also found the subject matter relevant to my current work as well as my future studies in veterinary medicine.”

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s award-winning Online Forensic Science Master’s Program made it possible for Zap, offering UF pharmacy master’s degrees in areas such as drug chemistry, DNA and serology, and forensic science, and the forensic toxicology degree from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

Now entering its 11th year, the world’s largest and most prestigious forensic science program has graduated more than 600 working scholars like Zap, who, in addition to working as a vet technician for the past 13 years and placating pets from Haiti to Japan, wanted to further her education.

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