Lori Bentley Law traveled the world as a video journalist for the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles. She covered four Olympic Games, a Papal Conclave, 9/11 and Presidential conventions and elections, earning a couple Emmy Awards.
But after 24 years in the news business, she decided to make a change in her life. The content she was producing wasn’t creating joy in the world.
“I want to put more joy in the world and that’s why I decided it was time, and it was a very hard decision, there were so many things that I loved about my career,” she said.
She decided now was the time to go back to school in 2021.
After a successful career, student finds Arizona Online
“One of my biggest regrets was that I dropped out of school in 1990,” she said. “It was always sort of this lingering thing in the back of my brain that here’s something I failed at.”
“The idea of walking into a classroom at my age worried me (I’m 56),” she said. “Online education solved that problem.”
“Part of growing and learning is learning new things … things that kind of scare you. I was really intimidated by the art element of it,” Law said.
The program, which accommodates students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, is working out for Law.
“The Design Arts and Practices major has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she said. “I eagerly anticipate every class, but I have had a couple of bumps. That was how I discovered the ASUA-NY student board. I aim to help online students make the most of their experience, feel included and valued, and have a voice.
The ASUA-NY student board stands for students ‘near you.’ Students include all Arizona Online students and the Near You Network, an accessible degree program for students across Arizona in various regional locations.
Law was elected president of the ASUA-NY executive board.
“I aim to help online students make the most of their experience, feel included and valued, and have a voice,” she said.
Law said she had a class with a disconnected instructor, and she wanted to be able to have a voice and find ways for online students to feel somewhat connected to their professor.
“People learn better when they have a personal connection,” Law added. “So, I came up with an initiative that I’ve been working with Caleb Simmons on, of what I want my professors to know.”
Simmons is the Executive Director of Online Education, overseeing Arizona Online.
Law said the initiative will be a video series of different online students talking about what works well for them when it comes to online learning. She said that it has been a gratifying experience because she can see that it could make a difference to online learning.
“There have been times where I thought, ‘why did I take on this extra task,’ and then I think, ‘no, let’s take a really great online program and push it kinda to the next level,’” Law added.
“There’s very few fine arts programs that you can do online that have such great diversity, so that’s why I was really drawn to Arizona Online,” she said.
Currently, Law is working as the creative director of the Affeldt Mion Museum as well as a few hotels in Winslow, Arizona. Additionally, she is working with her husband, Brian, on preserving two historic buildings with the goal of turning them into galleries.
“We’re working on a concept called ‘6 on 66,” she continued. “So ‘6 on 66’ will be a gallery of motorcycle installations that will combine art, artifacts, and motorcycles.”
With a background in videography, Law said she will also be continuing her passion in documentary videography for the museum as well.
“It is a very important aspect of who I am and what I love,” she added.
Law says that her husband, Brian, is one of her supporters. He is also an online student at Cal Poly.
“We can totally relate to each other’s schedule, and we boost each other up. We help each other with assignments,” she said. “It’s a great support system.”
Law said she felt challenged and scared about coming back to school, but since her return, she has gained and learned so much. She hopes to graduate with her degree next fall.
“If you have sort of that lingering doubt on if you’re worth it, yes, if education means that much to you, it’s worth doing,” Law said.