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  • Writer's pictureCeleste Malone

WGU September Newsletter

Subject: Closing the Digital Divide for Working Adults

WGU to Grant $1 Million in Online Access Scholarships to Close the Digital Divide Learning Gap

WGU’s Online Access Scholarship program covers the cost of high-speed internet access and provides devices to students who need and can’t afford them. The program is part of a broader WGU initiative aimed at working with policy makers and businesses to close the digital divide by expanding access to reliable internet.

WGU Tennessee is committed to closing the digital divide learning gap by focusing on long-term and short-term solutions,” said Kim Estep, WGU Tennessee chancellor. “We are providing scholarships while also advocating for a nation-wide infrastructure plan that will make broadband available to every Tennessean, regardless of income or geography.”

According to BroadbandNow, a consumer advocacy organization that gathers data regarding internet access in the United States, nearly half-a-million Tennesseans do not have access to a wired internet connection capable of at least 25 Mbps. In addition, 40.5% do not have access to a low-priced internet plan ($60/month or less), 27% do not have an internet subscription at all, and 274,000 have no providers offering internet to their homes.

More information on WGU’s Online Access Scholarship is available at

Healthcare Leaders Join WGU Advisory Board

Bobbie Murphy, Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer at Bristol Regional Medical Center (Ballad Health), and Lisa Doyle, Vice President of Engagement and Development at HCA Healthcare, have joined WGU’s advisory board.

Murphy, who has been in the nursing field for 19 years, joined Ballad Health in 2016 as Director of Emergency Services (critical care, trauma, and respiratory therapy). She began in her current role at Bristol Regional in September 2019. As VP of patient care, she has executive responsibility for patient care delivery across the continuum of Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Murphy is also a graduate of WGU, having earned her degree in Master’s of Science in Nursing in 2016.

Doyle, who has more than 30 years of experience in human resources, joined HCA as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at St. David’s Healthcare, as well as Division Vice President of HR for the Central and West Texas Divisions. She moved into her current role in March 2017, and she leads a team of about 100 corporate and field employees.

Continuing our #7years7stories

Throughout July and August, we highlighted WGU students and their successes on our social media to celebrate seven years in the state of Tennessee through our #7years7stories feature!

Check out some of the students and their stories below, and head over to WGU Tennessee’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see more.

Meet Kara Greer!

Kara knew that she wanted to land a leadership role in the technology field, and decided to pursue two master’s degrees in business administration and cybersecurity from WGU Tennessee. As the director of Customer Projects for Schneider Electric, she now uses her dual master’s degrees interchangeably to design and operate digital platforms for clients.

Meet Lori Witherington (center)!

WGU Tennessee was so gracious. I was afraid after taking that long off that they wouldn’t have room for me, and I wouldn’t be able to come back; but they have been so wonderful,” she said. After being diagnosed with colon cancer, Lori had to take a pause in her WGU Tennessee Nursing program. Thankfully, Lori was able to finish treatments and graduate from WGU Tennessee with her degree in nursing.

Meet Lacy Acuff!

After seeing her husband thrive in his competency-based WGU Tennessee degree program, Lacy decided to take the leap and pursue her own degree. She loved the flexibility that WGU offered, making it perfect for busy families.

Follow us on social media for WGU Tennessee updates and for more of our #7years7stories features!

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