Jessie Ehrisman pulled on latex gloves and tipped 0.5 grams of brown acetanilide crystals into a beaker of boiling water. With a lab partner's guidance, she raised the beaker and swirled the liquid to complete the first step in purifying the chemical compound.
Ehrisman, a clinical research coordinator for Duke's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is taking organic chemistry for credit at Duke through the Special Duke Employee Tuition Rate Program. She has a degree in psychology, but she wants to attend medical school and needs more basic science under her belt.Read More
"Initially, the thought of returning to the classroom and having to pay tuition was daunting," Ehrisman said. "But I can handle taking a class for less than $1,000 a semester. If I keep taking one class per semester, I think I can matriculate into a med school in 2017."
The Special Duke Employee Tuition Rate is offered by Duke Continuing Studies for employees working at least 20 hours per week. Employees can take an undergraduate course for academic credit for $975 per course credit instead of $5,723. Employees can also audit a class for $100 per credit instead of $535.
Since Continuing Studies began offering the discount in 2012, 79 employees have audited or enrolled in Duke classes. The application deadline for summer classes is May 1. Applications for admission to fall classes are due by August 1.
Pauline Myers, a nurse at Duke University Hospital, is auditing Arabic 408, an advanced Arabic literature class. Having learned Arabic in North Yemen while serving in the Peace Corps, she’s eager to hone her grasp of the language and culture.
"I enjoy reading excerpts from Arabic books and articles, even though I still have to look up a lot of words," she said.
The Special Duke Employee Tuition Rate discount applies to undergraduate courses (numbered 1-699) in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke Marine Lab and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Pratt School of Engineering classes and all graduate-level courses are excluded from the special tuition rate. The employee discount at Duke is independent from the tuition assistance available through Duke's Employee Tuition Assistance program, which reimburses eligible employees up to $5,250 per year for tuition at Duke or at other colleges in North Carolina.
Ehrisman said she is grateful to Duke for offering the special discount because it isn't the first time Duke has helped finance her education.
"I graduated from Duke in 2010 with a degree in developmental psychology and less than $5,000 in debt because of Duke's financial aid," she said. "To have Duke help fund my education a second time around is truly incredible."