July 7, 2022
Head of the class
Kimberly Quinn (MS ’21) made St. Scholastica history as the first graduate from the College’s Master of Science in Chemistry program. The Florida native completed this online graduate program, furthering her abilities in science at a flexible pace.
Searching for a good fit
When Quinn first started looking at graduate studies, she knew she needed something to align with her schedule, not compete with it. “I started the program when I wanted to get into industry, and I wanted a program that was going to allow me some flexibility which you do not find in traditionally ‘hard’ sciences. Those would be chemistry, mathematics, where usually you would be locked into a graduate research role, which didn’t quite appeal to me at the time.”
Quinn also searched for an education-based program that still focused on chemistry. “I really wanted a master of science rather than a master’s in teaching with an emphasis on chemistry. I’m a scientist at heart, and I don’t necessarily plan on teaching. It was nice to have hard, rigorous coursework in the science that I was looking for.”
While Quinn was aware she had enrolled in a relatively new program for the College, she did not realize that she would be the first to finish the program. Quinn entered the program with two classes already completed, which she felt gave her a head start in the program.
“I knew I was willing to bang it out with the eight-week cycles of courses.” This meant for Quinn that each set of courses she enrolled in at a time were only eight weeks in length. This gave her enough time to deep dive into each subject and aspect of chemistry while also not drawing out the learning process for herself.
A barometer for doctoral studies
From start to finish, Quinn completed the program in eight months. She enjoyed the hustle of her studies, especially when considering that she could complete the program in so little time.
Since completing the program, the advanced degree has benefited Quinn’s career. “Being in the program at St. Scholastica allowed me to make connections in the field that I can get letters of recommendation from, so that was a huge benefit for me.”
In addition to applying for certifications in her field, she has also considered continuing her studies. “I realized that I wanted to keep on going, which could be a master’s in a different field, or maybe a PhD.”
The master’s program at St. Scholastica also gave Quinn a sense of what more advanced degrees might take to attain. “It’s high caliber coursework without the added stress of a normal program that would have more emphasis on research. It’s an awesome barometer [for a PhD program].
High praise as the program’s first
Quinn spoke highly of all the courses she took throughout the program. “I absolutely adored every class I took in the program. A lot of the students who were in classes with me were allowed to have the freedom of choosing where our interests or our career brought us. It wasn’t so rigid that we couldn’t explore what we wanted.”
For Quinn, who is now a spectroscopist, the program included a course that prepared her specifically for that role. “There happened to be an advanced spectroscopy course offered by Dr. Brown. That course specifically has helped me better understand the instruments I use on a daily basis at a much deeper level.”
Quinn praised the quality of her online experience with St. Scholastica. “I thought it was rigorous enough to be a master’s program, by far, but not an endless journey.” Specifically, Quinn noted the academic breadth of the program and the respect she felt as an online learner. “I loved the class orientation and the spread and diversity that was provided in the class selection. I think that a sampling from each ‘category’ of chemistry was beneficial as a student, as well as cool in general. It was online, but we were treated like an adult who was working, which was nice.”
Quinn surmised her experience as the program’s first with a positive reflection. “I had a very nice experience with The College of St. Scholastica. I didn’t know I was going to be the first, but I’m very happy I was.”