From Aspiration to Reality After 20 Years

By: Dezaray Barr

Nicole Brundage and her son, photo obtained from Facebook
Nicole Brundage and her son, photo obtained from Facebook

Nicole Brundage received her Associate degree in Human Services from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2015; however, she received her Bachelor degree in social work from IWU’s online program just this past week!

Brundage was drawn to IWU because the program was completely online. As a mother with a full time job, IWU’s online program afforded her the freedom to earn a degree on her own schedule. After seeing her stepdaughter graduate from college, Brundage realized that another college degree was the best plan for her and her family.

When Brundage began the online program at IWU, she had never taken an online college course before.

Her favorite class has been her field placement class seminar with Heather Valentino. Despite the busyness and challenges in life, Brundage said that Professor Valentino was graciously willing to work with her.

“Being able to go into the field and then share that experience with my fellow students in the classroom and get their feedback… it was overall a great experience,” said Brundage.

Since November, Brundage has been working at Hospice of the Calumet Area in Munster, Indiana as a  Bereavement Intern and Companion Care Volunteer.

Although her internship is over, she hopes to obtain a casual employee position at this location, where she would have the opportunity to work with individuals much sooner after the loss of a loved one than she has in the past. She is also in the process of putting together a support group that will hopefully begin in 2018.

“It’s never too late to go after the goals and aspirations that you set forth in life. I’ve always wanted to be involved in end-of-life care and could never figure out how to do that. When I had the opportunity to find my field placement, it was the right time and it all fell into place. I’m able to work in an arena that I have always been drawn to help in, even after 20 years,” Brundage shared.


Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU, Dezaray runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at


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