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Idahoan Amanda Lee eager to finish what she started with online bachelor’s degree

Amanda Lee doesn’t subscribe to the theory that you can’t go home. She did it twice — first to Idaho, then to Boise State University.

“I always wanted to go back to school to finish my degree,” she said. “I love to learn. Even the process of it — the learning part — I really enjoy. It’s rewarding for me.”

Lee enrolled in Boise State’s online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Innovation + Design earlier this year. She earned 45 credit hours by taking general requirements in 2009-10 but left school to become a mother. She jumped at the opportunity to become a Bronco again 13 years later.

“I found out about the digital innovation and design degree and its features on LinkedIn,” she said. “It intrigued me once I started looking into it. I am doing certifications in user experience (UX) research, UX design and data analytics.

“I had never really heard of UX research and design, but it was interesting, rewarding and in line with what I enjoy doing.”

Lee recently earned a promotion to compliance project manager at Refrigerant Management Solutions in Meridian, Idaho. She has worked for the same company for more than six years.

“I am now doing a little bit of research and design at work,” she said. “I also do some software testing and improvement, which I like. The degree came along and fell in line perfectly for me.”

The flexibility of the online format is also important to Lee, who looks after her 20-year-old special needs son, Elijah, in a Certified Family Home.

“It allows me to be home and take care of him,” she said. “I am very grateful for it. I did school on campus previously. Earning a degree online has its pros and cons, but it definitely fits into my schedule better.”

Eye-Opening Experience

Lee is from Kuna, Idaho, but she lived in Washington for seven years before coming home to raise her son and his two sisters, Isabella (21) and Arianna (19).

“I came back to Idaho because I love the area, and it’s a great place to raise a family,” she said. “Boise State has always been a good college to go to.”

Since embarking on her current career trajectory at Keller Associates in Meridian once she returned to Idaho, she has steadily built an impressive amount of real-world experience and a diverse set of skills.

“I was a water and wastewater project coordinator at my previous job,” she said. “I did a lot of editing, writing, proofreading, document management — anything the project managers needed. We had about 20 engineers on staff. That’s what got me into this specific field.” 

Although she has not been in the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design + Innovation long, Lee has already gained valuable insights into new ways to create. So far, Creative Concepting is her favorite course in the curriculum.

“It introduced me to a lot of different tools,” she said. “The creativity that can happen with those tools surprised me. I was shocked. It was inspiring. I really enjoyed it.

“I also took UX Design Foundations, which went into user testing, so I was able to glean a little bit more from that. I’ve been doing the task of a project manager for a few years, but I didn’t have the title. I am pretty blown away by what I’ve already learned in the bachelor’s degree program.”

Solid Foundation

Especially because she started a bachelor’s degree more than a decade ago, Lee looks forward to celebrating her accomplishment by walking the graduation stage at commencement in Spring 2026.

“That would be great to share with my kids and family — especially my mom, Tammy, who has been my biggest supporter,” she said. “I am looking forward to finishing my degree and getting started doing something even more rewarding full-time.” 

Lee isn’t sure which direction she wants to take her career after graduating, but she looks forward to seeing what opportunities and options the bachelor’s degree creates.

“The company where I work is expanding into different compliance refrigerant management areas, so there may be an opportunity for me to stay there,” she said.

“We are part of DC Engineering, which has a software engineering firm, too. I work closely with the software engineers. I’m hoping I can expand into a different role at my current job, doing UX research and design.”  

For now, Lee is focusing on her new role, working on her bachelor’s degree, caring for her son and making the most of being home, sweet home, again.

“I would tell anybody considering this degree to be ready to dive in and be amazed by what the tools and education can open in your mind,” she said.  “I am already surprised by the things I have been able to create with it.” 

Want to Learn More About Digital Innovation + Design?

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