Seeking a Better Fit from For-Profit Education
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
I'm Farai Chideya and this NEWS & NOTES.
Well, earlier in the show we heard about for-profit colleges and why black students find them attractive. Amabel Niba earned her bachelor's degree and MBA from DeVry University. Today she's editorial director and chief editor of African Vibes magazine, a publication that she herself launched. Amabel shares her educational journey from the African nation of Cameroon to DeVry's Long Beach campus in her own words.
Ms. AMABEL NIBA (Editorial Director, African Vibes Magazine): I came to the United States when I was 17 years old. My father is a geotechnical engineer. He has a Ph.D. He got that from Penn State University. My mother has a master's in psychology. She also got that from Penn State University.
I did my high school in Cameroon, and when I came out here I went to Santa Monica College. So I graduated from Santa Monica with an associate in arts degree. And then I figure out, okay, I'm going to go to Cal State, the whole concept of which the community college used to save some money before you go into a four-year course so you cut down the time.
So I went to Cal State and it just didn't really cut out for me. The scheduling wasn't great. I wanted a situation where I could work and I could graduate in a quick or short period. And that didn't seem to be the case at Cal State because they had a quarter system, you had to go through the whole process of doing four quarters a year, and that's not what I wanted.
So I got in touch with DeVry. So I went there, talked to them, found out that I could actually do a program in the evening, something that would work with my schedule and something that I could finish quickly. I believe at that time it was six weeks and you're done for a course, I think. And that was really - it was something I was looking forward to. I said, wow, it means I could get my degree out of the way in a much shorter period of time than a quarter system.
The classes are not big. It's like about 15 students and sometimes less in the classroom. I had some really great teachers. I had teachers who had worked in different kinds of industries, and they applied what they had experienced, things that they had accumulated and brought that into the classroom. We had teachers with different approaches, depending on what subject are you were covering.
Personally, I would say, any school that offers a practical education within a structured schedule that can work for a working professional will work for in a lot of people. And I would say it works for a lot of minorities because most of us have to work and go to school. And we need something that we can use right away.
When we get to our school, we don't want to try to (unintelligible) it out. The opportunities we get out there are not necessarily the same. Not that it's not getting better, it's gotten really much better, but we need something that we can take and hit the ground running.
I went to DeVry as opposed to going to a journalism school, considering that I have a magazine that I was planning to do, because I felt I needed a stronger practical business education to start a business first. The critics of a school like DeVry who would say that DeVry gives too quick an education instead of the regular traditional route where you took a longer period of time to get that education. I would say those criticisms are not founded. I am an example. All DeVry has successfully done is strip out the excess and give you the bare meat and bones of what you actually need to survive out there in the workforce.
The next step for me is I still plan to pursue a journalism degree. I have a magazine called African Vibes magazine, and it's a magazine that I feel that -a natural way for it to grow is for me to get that background now that the business part is rolling and is being put together. I'm going to pursue a journalism degree, and if DeVry is offering a journalism degree, I'm going to go right back to DeVry.
CHIDEYA: Amabel Niba is a DeVry University alum and the founder of African Vibes magazine.
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