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How an online education changed the trajectory of one alumna’s future

Enviro portrait
Photo provided by Ervina Covcic.

Ervina Covcic was a child when she and her family immigrated to Twin Falls, Idaho, from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Growing up in southern Idaho, Covcic describes herself as having a normal childhood. She loved her hometown and all that her vibrant community and the Idaho outdoors had to offer, so when she graduated from high school and was preparing to make a decision about college, she realized she had no desire to leave her home.

“With my childhood, my parents always stressed that college was important and that no one could ever take it away from me,” Covcic said. After earning her associate’s degree at the College of Southern Idaho, she decided to go for her bachelor’s degree. “I did a lot of research and stumbling into online learning was really exciting to me.”

Flexibility and opportunities with an online education

Covcic found that an online degree program would allow her to continue her education without sacrificing her other responsibilities or time with her family. She enrolled in the online business program at Boise State University, all the while working full-time as an administrative assistant for Southern Idaho Economic Development.

“I loved that Boise State allowed me to continue my education without moving to the area,” she said. “My job was in Twin Falls, where I was learning new skills every day that went hand-in-hand with my education. It was important to me to continue working while also attending all of my courses.”

“I think a lot of students think that they can’t make money and go to school,” she added. “[But] there is so much flexibility and opportunity with an online education.”

Boise State Center at the College of Southern Idaho

Through the Boise State Center at the College of Southern Idaho, Covcic received all of the support and guidance she needed to succeed. The center houses a dedicated advisor on the College of Southern Idaho Campus, coordinates Boise State evening courses supplemented by online options and offers personalized transfer assistance.

“I could see [my advisor] in person and get my questions answered,” Covcic said. “Having someone there to walk me through the process made it a lot less stressful, especially at the beginning.”

Covcic became the first in her family to graduate college when she earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Boise State in May 2019. She now is working towards her Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Three students celebrate graduation in gowns
Photo provided by Ervina Covcic.

Helping rural Idaho businesses grow

Earning a bachelor’s degree led to a promotion for Covcic and the ability to pursue her professional passion in her own community. She has now worked with the Southern Idaho Economic Development for four years, most recently as a rural economic development specialist.

“My role is really important for rural businesses. I visit businesses and talk them through funding and resources — I work as a resource concierge so our beloved ‘mom and pop’ shops can stay afloat,” she said. “I help both major employers and small businesses in the rural Magic Valley area overcome barriers to growth. It’s really important, especially right now.”

Just as importantly, “I have used numerous concepts taught from several classes at my job and am constantly seeing the value that my education has brought me,” she said.