Robin Barfield-McGinnis

Bismarck State College

Power System Coordinator, Georgia Power

It takes a lot to try and see your future, but that is exactly what Robin did when she decided a degree in Nuclear Power Technology (NUPT) from Bismarck State College (BSC) was for her.  Having worked as an Engineering Specialist for Utility Support Systems and a Distribution Operator for Georgia Power, Robin was able to see how the industry was changing.  She looked at the list of programs that were supported by Georgia Power’s tuition reimbursement program and found EPCE’s online energy education and training programs on the list.

Robin had previously attended Southern Poly Tech but was unable to finish.  “I couldn’t afford to stop going to work just to take a class,” she points out.  By enrolling at BSC, she could tackle the schooling online on her own time.  She also recalls that, “This was the first company that I worked for that offered tuition reimbursement.  So, there was no reason not to go back to school.”

During her coursework, her biggest obstacle was storms. “I would be called out for ten days at a time where I had no access to computers and could not post for my classes.  My teachers were very understanding.  Just fantastic!”  BSC’s flexibility allowed her to step away from her schoolwork in urgent cases, focus on her job, and then resume class when everything was back to normal.

As a new online student, there were many things to adjust to including carving out study time and discovering time management tools.  Robin suggests that other students may want to, “Print out any course material, put it into a notebook, tab it, and take it with you.  By doing this, I felt like I was accomplishing what I needed to when I wasn’t near a computer.”

Robin recalls a time when her advisor helped resolve a situation when she was having trouble communicating with an instructor.  “Don’t feel like you can’t call your advisor,” Robin now advises fellow students.  “They are there for you.”

Robin started the Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Energy Management at BSC this past spring and is excited to continue her education.