Angelica Fabricatore’s long journey to graduation day on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium was worth the wait.
Ten years after enrolling in college, the United States Army veteran graduated from Boise State University’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in May 2023. She is the first person in her immediate family to earn a four-year degree.
“When I was getting out of the Army two years ago, I knew I wanted to go to school full-time,” she said. “I started out in parks and wildlife to become a forest ranger, but I didn’t want to bottleneck my career.
“I wanted to open up my opportunities, so I decided that business was a better way to go for me. I had leadership experience as a non-commissioned officer in the military, but I didn’t have any business background.”
Fabricatore served her country for nine years and seven months, working first as a radio repairer and then as an electronic warfare specialist.
The online format was essential for her to remain in college, especially because Fabricatore and her husband, Alan, have two young children: Grace (three) and Lawrence (one).
“It was convenient doing the bachelor’s degree online,” she said. “Most of the time, I worked on school at night, after the kids went to bed. It was the only time I was able to get my work done.
“It was manageable going full-time and doing two classes at a time. That was really nice. I was nervous about going to school full-time, but it’s so flexible.”
The degree has already paid off for Fabricatore. After attending a career fair at Boise State, she landed in a management trainee program at Sherwin-Williams. She will become an assistant manager at the end of the six-week program.
“The bachelor’s degree has definitely already opened up opportunities for me,” she said. “The program I am in only takes college graduates, so I am using my degree. My major helped me with the knowledge part.”
Home, Sweet Home
Fabricatore is from Nampa, Idaho, and often visited Boise State University’s campus as a teenager. She enlisted in the U.S. Army, following in the footsteps of her father, Rex, who served for four years.
“I didn’t want to have any student loan debt, so I started looking at other options after high school,” she said. “I looked into the military and realized that was my calling.
“I started school while in the Army, which made my college experience longer than my peers. I had so much life experience with no debt.”
While enlisted, Fabricatore spent time in Afghanistan, Korea, Japan, Thailand and most of the United States. She first enrolled in college at Austin Peay State University while stationed nearby in Kentucky. She graduated with an associate degree from Chemeketa Community College in 2021.
“It worked out that when I got out of the Army, I had some years left in college and could go to Boise State,” she said. “I saw the business management program was 100% online and a great program. It felt right.”
Fabricatore gained plenty of applicable knowledge while in the online management program. Her favorite course was the capstone.
“I liked researching a company,” she said. “I picked Walgreens because I worked there before I joined the Army.
“It was fun deep-diving into the strategy and applying the knowledge I learned in the program and making it applicable to a case study like that. It was very satisfying. I retained more than I thought.”
Walking the commencement stage was the icing on the cake for Fabricatore after reaching her goal of earning a bachelor’s degree.
“My son wasn’t at graduation because he’s too much of a busy body, but it was important to me to have my daughter there and kind of know what was going on,” she said. “My children were my inspiration to keep going when I didn’t feel like it.
“My family and friends are really proud of me — especially my husband. He helped me a lot by taking care of the kids when I needed him to. He’s been so supportive.”
Now that Fabricatore has a degree on her resume and a new job, she looks forward to building a career while raising a family.
“I want to climb the ranks of the company,” she said. “I want to become a store manager and eventually get to the executive level.
“Boise State has an executive MBA program. I plan to get my master’s degree once I don’t feel burned out from school. I’ll take a break, get some experience under my belt, then get into district management or higher executive levels.”
Especially because her experience in college took longer than the traditional four-year schedule, Fabricatore said it’s important not to wait to start a degree program and to commit to it from the outset.
“Even if you have to do one class at a time, chip away and get it done,” she said. “There were times when I didn’t think I’d make it to the end. All of a sudden, graduation came up. It was a relief.”
Of course, seeing an immediate return on investment doesn’t hurt, either.
“It’s nice getting a management career with my management degree,” she said. “I learned about different business functions, like marketing and inventory and decision-making, that are going to help me be a manager. It’s been a good year.”
Learn More About the Online Business Management Degree
Want to learn more about Boise State’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management? Join us for an online information session or contact a student success coach.