EKU is committed to bringing quality education to Eastern Kentucky. The university is enriched by the communities it serves and it's partnership with The University Center of the Mountains and Hazard Community Technical College. This partnership increases the opportunity for students to obtain selected baccalaureate and master degrees while remaining in the area to better serve the needs of their families and their communities.
EKU students can continue their education beyond the Associate degree by enrolling in the classes required to complete a Bachelor’s or Masters degree. Current baccalaureate degree offerings include Nursing, Criminal Justice, General Studies, Paralegal Studies and Industrial Technology. Graduate programs in Nursing, Corrections, Education, and Career and Technical Education are also available. Classes are taught in classrooms at Hazard Community and Technical College by EKU faculty.
EKU success story: Dawn Rayburn
In 2002 Dawn Rayburn had three kids, no job, and received food stamps. Now after graduating from Hazard Community and Technical College and Eastern Kentucky University through the University Center of the Mountains, she has a job she’s always dreamed of having, and has an income that means she no longer qualifies for food stamps.
“It is fabulous. I hated depending on the government. Now I have an education, I never will again need that assistance.”
With her Criminal Justice degree, Rayburn was hired May 6 at the Buckhorn Children’s Center as a Mental Health Associate. She loves a job where she can help young people. “I remember when I had lost a job at Sykes in 2011, I prayed to God, asking him what direction I should take. When I woke up the next morning, it was made quite clear to me -- I need to work in a career where I work with youth.”
Rayburn said her journey has not always been easy and she was tempted to quit along the way but she kept going. “I needed to be a positive role model for my kids,” she said. It warmed her heart when daughter Kaitlyn put a message on Facebook that she was proud of her Mom for graduating. “I cried when I saw that,” Rayburn said, with a smile.
After graduating from Buckhorn High School in 1993, Rayburn worked in restaurants for many years. “I knew I would be stuck working in restaurants if I did not get an education. I wanted better for myself and for my kids.”
She describes the education she received from HCTC as “high quality” and she appreciates the help she received. “I was out of high school ten years when I came back. It was kind of hard to get into the swing of things but Student Support Services helped. Other students helped. The teachers helped. If I needed tutoring I could get help.”
She praised EKU’s Beverly Patterson and advisor Steven Kappeler for being there at every turn. “Classes were small and we had the one-on-one with faculty, if we needed it.” She appreciated EKU’s faculty and staff.
Ms. Patterson noted, “I'm really proud of Dawn's hard work and commitment to her education. I remember a few times when she wanted to quit--but she realized that if she wanted to see her dreams come true that she had to hang in there and keep moving forward.”
Rayburn lives in Krypton in Perry County with husband David and 16-year-old Kaitlyn and 13-year-old twins Kyle and Kameron. Her parents Irvin and Sue Neace live close as does her brother Derek Neace. “They all are my support system and have helped every step of the way.”