Nov. 17, 2023

'I'm grateful that I came back'


Sharayah LaGier enrolled at NDSU in 2007 after high school. She explored various degree options and actively participated in campus activities, including the Gold Star Marching Band. She had planned to become a pharmacist, but took a break from higher education to ponder her future and find a career path she was more passionate about.

LaGier received an email in 2022 about NDSU’s degree completion program that reignited her journey to a college degree. “When they asked if I was interested in returning, I had a lot going on in my life at that point,” said LaGier, who is from Crosby, Minnesota. “I was working full-time, a mother of a six-year-old with another baby on the way, and I had also faced some medical challenges.”

When LaGier met with Jessie Bauer, assistant director of student success initiatives, she learned that she only needed two classes to complete her degree. “I decided it would be better to finish before the baby arrives,” she said. LaGier completed two online classes while living in Argusville, North Dakota.

Bauer streamlined the process for LaGier, guiding her through each step. She provided information about necessary forms, changing her name due to marriage and securing financial aid. LaGier enrolled in a food in world cultures class for personal enrichment, and a business writing course, which complemented her work.

No one in LaGier’s immediate family held a bachelor’s degree, so she wanted that sense of accomplishment and the new opportunities it would provide at her workplace. She was a quality assurance specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota when she returned to NDSU. LaGier earned a University Studies degree in August 2022 and was promoted to team leader less than a year later. 

“My years of service and my experience certainly played a role, but having that degree made a difference,” she said. She now leads a team of 10 people. 

LaGier values her 11-year employer's dedication to their staff and took advantage of their tuition reimbursement program. “I had considered utilizing their tuition benefit before, but I didn't realize I was so close to finishing,” she said. 

LaGier found it flexible to attend classes in the evenings and on weekends. “I loved that all the information was laid out so I could plan and prioritize my focus,” she said. “It was tough parenting at the same time, but involving my child in what I was learning was huge.”

Despite the online format, LaGier still engaged with other students and faculty. “If I had questions or needed assistance, my instructors were very responsive and accommodating,” she said.

LaGier’s advice to anyone contemplating returning to NDSU to complete their degree is simple: “Just do it.”

“You might think you're too old. You might think you're too broke. In my case I thought I was too pregnant,” she said. “I finished my degree in August, and baby boy arrived in October. It’s been a whirlwind, but I'm grateful that I came back and completed that portion of my life.”

Reach out today to see what you have left to earn your degree at NDSU.

Contact Bauer at or 701-231-6313 for more information on the NDSU degree completion program.

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