ISU graduate successfully uses dual-enrollment program advantage; graduates with two degrees in two years
In 2016, Jillian Christiansen graduated with her high school diploma from Renaissance High School, in Meridian, and her Associate of Arts degree from Idaho State University. Christiansen is one of many students who has participated in ISU’s dual-enrollment program at Renaissance High School. She will graduate in May with two bachelor’s degrees, one in political science and one in international studies.
When Christiansen started at ISU, she was already considered a junior and had completed her general education requirements while in high school. The dual-enrollment program also helped Christiansen make the decision to double major in both international studies and political science as she had time to explore other majors and programs.
“It was very helpful to not have to take any general education courses, especially math, and jump right into my programs,” she said.
Although Christiansen was only at ISU for two years, she made her time count. She was involved in planning the Frank Church Symposium and Surviving Voices event, worked as a Career Path Intern for the Department of Global Studies and Languages, was involved in the Honors Program and presented research at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference.
She was also able to work on research with professors Malliga Och, from Department Global Studies and Languages, and Kellee Kirkpatrick and Jim Stoutenbourough, from the Department of Political Science. She was also named one of the College of Arts & Letter’s 2018 Outstanding Student Achievement Award winners.
“Being able to participate in research with my professors was a highlight for me,” Christiansen said. “It helped me know how to work with a team and see a project carry through to the end.”
Christiansen has advice for students who are currently in the position she was in taking dual-enrollment classes: “Take the time to explore classes to see what other programs are out there,” she said. “Also, college is a change. In high school, you have counselors to help you figure out what to do, but at college, you are on your own. Seek out help, because it is out there.” For the next step of her career, Christiansen will work as an intern in Denver with a lawyer who specializes in health law. She will then decide if she would rather pursue her master’s degree in political science at ISU or go to law school to receive her Juris doctorate.