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Juggling work, family and college: Brooke's journey through the CBE program

Monday, April 8, 2024

Discovering the CBE option was a turning point for Brooke Leverson. She could pursue her educational goals without compromising her other responsibilities.

Brooke Leverson_newsMeet Brooke Leverson, a full-time employee at Mayo Clinic, a loving mother of three and a determined student in the online Business Administration degree program at Northeast Iowa Community College.

Brooke enrolled in the Business Administration - Associate of Applied Science program to advance her career at Mayo Clinic. With a family to support and a hectic schedule to manage, she needed a program that offered flexibility and versatility. 

“I was looking for a program that focused more generally on business and would be useful for me to move up the career ladder," Brooke said.

The Competency-Based Education (CBE) format offered by NICC proved to be the perfect fit for Brooke's busy lifestyle. Juggling a full-time job and parenting responsibilities, Brooke found solace in the flexibility provided by the CBE program. 

“The only reason I decided to go back to school at this time was because of the CBE format,” she shared. “It allows me to still have my family time and complete my work at my own pace without hard deadlines.”

CBE is a course delivery method where students control the pace of their learning. This learning model is based on two key components: learning for competency and flexible pacing. CBE focuses on helping students achieve competence or mastery of the concepts and skills covered in courses, while allowing for flexibility to move more quickly or slowly through the material.

Discovering the CBE option was a turning point for Brooke. She could pursue her educational goals without compromising her other responsibilities. “I saw it on the NICC website when I was looking at program options. I wanted to go to a school somewhere close to home and flexible,” she said.

Balancing her full-time job at Mayo Clinic with her role as a parent, Brooke’s typical day begins early. “I start work at 5:30 in the morning and get done at 4. My kids get home from school at 4 pm and I do homework with them. Once homework and dinner are done, they go to bed around 7:30 pm. That is when I start my schoolwork for the night,” Brooke said.

With aspirations of becoming an operations manager at Mayo, Brooke views her college education as a stepping stone towards a brighter future for herself and her family. She plans to complete the associate’s degree, then a bachelor’s degree and advance in her professional career. CBE is making Brooke’s academic and career goals possible.

In addition to the Business Administration online degree, NICC has established CBE options for an online Business Administration certificate program and a Welding diploma program. For more information, visit