Stories of the Class of 2016: Felicia Kruger, Doing Whatever It Takes

Felicia Kruger

Felicia Kruger, a single mom living in Arvada, had two young children, a job with the city's utilities department and a need to further her education.

While pursuing a bachelor's degree in geology from Metropolitan State University, one of her professors - a UNC alumnus - convinced her that UNC's new Professional Science Master's in Environmental Geosciences program -- or PSM: Environmental Geosciences -- was a perfect fit for her.

So starting fall 2014, Kruger added a twice-a-week commute on Interstate 25 to UNC's Greeley campus to her already-busy schedule, even though it meant 10- and 12-hour days that included being a teaching assistant in a geology lab.

Friday, she'll be one of the first three students to earn a PSM: Environmental Sciences degree from UNC. She says she couldn't have done it without a lot of support.

"I have an amazing mom and an amazing boyfriend who help me tremendously," Kruger said. "I had a lot of late nights and early mornings and couldn't have managed without them."

She also gives credit to her supervisors at the city of Arvada, where she does both utilities billing and manages the department's website, for allowing her to work a flexible schedule.

She's hoping that the city will have a positon that will allow her to use her advanced degree, but if it doesn't, she hopes to do environmental work with an engineering firm or an oil and gas company.

"It would be great if something works out with the city because it's a great place to work," Kruger said. "But if it doesn't work out, an advanced degree gives me options."

Besides working hard, Kruger has this advice for new grad students: "The first semester is the hardest. Once you get through that and fall into kind of a rhythm, it gets a lot easier. It really does."