For the third time in the last 10 years, a student in WSU’s Distance Degree Programs has been named the Outstanding Non-traditional Student of the Year by the national University Continuing Education Association.
Selection of Debby Poris, pictured at right, “underlines the strength of our program and its students,” said Muriel Oaks, dean of the Center for Distance and Professional Education. “It’s a real honor for Debby and for WSU.”
The national winner is chosen from among six regional winners. Judging criteria include an “unconventional educational background,” handling of multiple commitments during pursuit of a degree, and ability to inspire others. Poris, 54, will receive the award at the UCEA’s April conference in Boston.
“I felt like I was walking on cloud nine,” said the Lynnwood resident of her reaction to the news.
A business major, Poris maintains a 3.97 grade-point average, works full time as a fiscal analyst for the state Housing Finance Commission, and is president of the DDP’s student government.
Poris says her determination dates back to her childhood when she wore a back brace for scoliosis.
“I was out to prove to everyone I was not ‘handicapped,’” she said. “I snow-skied, played basketball, tennis and volleyball in my brace.”
She noted that the awards banquet is being held at the same time as a student government meeting, her husband’s annual employee dinner and a proctored exam.
“Just another day in the life of a non-traditional student,” Poris said. “I will get it figured out – I hope.”
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