National University

Alumni Around America: The Heartland and Prairie States

National University alumni are increasingly found in every region and in most major metropolitan areas of the United States. This is true of America's heartland, and of the vast acreage of prairie states stretching from Denver, Colorado to St. Louis, Missouri and ranging from Dallas, Texas to Minot, North Dakota.

For college football fans, this region would cover both the Big 12 and Big 10 Conferences. It represents a significant portion of the Mississippi River Basin. The alumni profiles are as diverse as the geography. This territory is home to some who moved to the Midwest to pursue career advancement, and others who returned to family after spending time on the West Coast.

Missouri, which borders eight states and is close to the geographic center of the continental United States, is home to former Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Gregory Robeson. A California native born to parents from the "Show Me" State and Oklahoma, Robeson joined the service out of high school and completed his associate's degree and MBA at National while on active duty. His brother and father moved back to the outskirts of Springfield, MO, and the alumnus joined them there when he retired from the military.

"I might miss the beach now and then," says Robeson, now a senior internal auditor at Bass Pro Shops, a sporting equipment retailer with a special emphasis on fishing, hunting, and camping. Robeson points out that the cost of living in this portion of the nation is generally lower than it is in California, but so are income levels, and job opportunities at the higher end of the pay scale may be harder to find in the more rural parts of the state. However, in his words, "the trade-off of uncrowded spaces and four seasons are more than worth it."

Several alumni like Linda Lamb are clustered in Chicago, the third most populous city in the United States and an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, telecommunications and transportation. Ms. Lamb returned home to the Windy City in 1988 after working at General Dynamics for several years. Today she specializes in the employee benefits arena and selling to the small business market as an Independent Associate with LegalShield, a company that makes legal services accessible to more than 1.4 million families across the United States and Canada.

National University graduates in the Midwest aren't all California expatriates. Ms. Lamb recently learned that a good friend of hers in Chicago had earned a master's degree online from her alma mater.

About 250 miles east, in Ann Arbor Michigan, is alumnus Heather Van Doren. Adding to her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing online from National University in 2008 and currently works as a senior medical editor at Arbor Research Collaborative for Health.

Also freelancing from her home, Van Doren's fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have been published in The New York Times; the books Hipster Haiku and Tribute to Orpheus; and the literary journals Word Riot, Yankee Pot Roast, Spillway Review, Long Story Short, Pemmican, Poetry Scotland, Wicked Alice, New Verse News, Lunarosity, The Orange Room Review, All Things Girl, and Up the Staircase.

Significant numbers of alumni can also be found in other major heartland cities such as Denver, St. Louis and Dallas. In 2011 National University opened a new Online Information Center (OIC) in the Shops at Park Place located at 8132 Park Lane, Suite 165 in Dallas, which represents the closest physical presence to the prairie states and the Midwest.

The response has been quite promising, according to Chelsea Fine, Manager of the Dallas OIC. "We have a lot of people who come in and say 'Hey, I got my degree from National University.' And there quite a few Texans who call in and say they're graduates. It's really nice to be welcomed like that."

Do Texans consider themselves to be part of the Heartland? Fine, who was born and raised in Dallas, says that Texas is generally considered to be a place all its own. "We've definitely got our own way of life down here," she says, "but in many ways we're a homogeneous hub. We offer a little bit of everything, with what I'd call an 'east meets west,' melting pot sort of attitude."

According to Fine, people gravitate to Dallas from all over the United States, and by the same token she and her staff are happy to take calls and answer inquiries from Denver or Chicago just as gladly as they would from Lubbock or Amarillo.

"We're happy to spread the word about National and generating enrollments wherever we find them," she adds.

It should be mentioned that there is a group of Midwestern alumni located on LinkedIn for National University graduates and credential completers residing in heartland and prairie states.

To join, or to find out more about alumni in the Midwest, click here. To contact Chelsea Fine, manager of the Dallas Online Information Center, call (214) 360-3151 or email her at