NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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A Degree to Make a Difference: How one student’s passion turned into a degree opportunity

Feature Story
Posted on Jan, 08 2013

Photo of Salina Berg

For Salina Berg, deciding to pursue a degree in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) came after discovering her passion. After moving from North Dakota to Kansas City, Missouri with her husband and daughter, Berg began working in the field of special education. Through her work with children diagnosed with severe behavior disorders, autism, and similar conditions, Berg realized she wanted to make her interest into a career in order to continue working closely with these children and making a difference in their lives. This decision directed her to the HDFS program with an emphasis on Child Development through Distance and Continuing Education (DCE) at North Dakota State University (NDSU).


According to Berg, completing her degree online fit perfectly with her busy schedule and best of all, allowed to her keep working fulltime with the children she loves working with so much. “What I have found to be the most beneficial of taking online classes is that it allows me to tend to my school work when I can and it’s easier to juggle my family schedule and working full-time,” states Berg.


One requirement for the HDFS degree is having a final field experience in a student’s area of interest. This gives students real world experience applied to their degree. Berg was able to complete some of her field experience at her work place because she works at a school for kids with autism and severe behavior disorders, which aligns with her focus in child development.


Once she completes her degree, Berg will have the opportunity to work in a range of fields with children in special education as well as at-risk youth. “It’s such a rewarding experience to teach kids the appropriate ways to communicate new skills, and see their behavior change in a positive way,” says Berg.


Visit the child development program webpage for more information about the online HDFS degree.