Coming up on his fifth work anniversary at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Kristofer Ehman, ‘22, says, “I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Looking back, Ehman says, “I'm keenly aware of how lucky I was to get a job at the NCAA, especially as a person without a four-year degree.”

From a contract position in the NCAA's Eligibility Center to his current role as the Assistant Coordinator of Enforcement, Ehman’s journey underscores the value of hard work and seizing opportunities.

Deciding to go back to school 

After graduating high school in 2006, Ehman initially pursued a degree at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. However, life took unexpected turns, leading him back to Indianapolis and leaving the private college before completing his degree.

It wasn’t until he had been at the NCAA for a couple of years and had worked his way up from a contract position to a full-time position that Ehman realized his desire to complete his education, both for personal fulfillment and professional advancement. 

“It's been a very interesting, challenging, rewarding five years. I love my work. I love the people I work with,” Ehman said of his career. “One of the biggest motivators – aside from just finishing what I started – is to make myself as big an asset to the department and the national office as possible.”

‘Ivy Tech was the logical first step.’

In 2022, Ehman was ready to finish what he started in 2006. 

“Ivy Tech was the logical first step in figuring out where I stood with credits, finish that associate degree, and figure out how to tackle my bachelor’s degree,” Ehman said.  

Ehman’s pragmatic approach, coupled with guidance from his Ivy Tech advisor, paved the way for a seamless transition back into academia for a degree path in general studies

Although he was passionate and determined to return to school, Ehman, 37, was hesitant, as he hadn’t been in a classroom for over a decade. However, he was off to the races when he discovered he could take all his courses on Ivy Tech's online learning platform. 

"It was wonderful. For starters, I didn’t have to pay for any textbooks, which was fantastic. All of the books were made available online, saving me a lot of money and headache,” Ehman said of his experience at Ivy Tech Indianapolis. “I was surprised by the amount of engagement I had with my professors and classmates. I was initially worried about online classes being as helpful as in-person classes, but in all of my classes, I had a lot of interaction with classmates and peers, which I found really nice.”

A point of pride for Ehman was graduating with a 4.0 GPA—a goal he had set for himself. 

This positive experience instilled confidence in his ability to pursue further education, leading him to enroll in IU Kokomo for his bachelor's degree.

Reflecting on his experiences, Ehman extends invaluable advice to those contemplating returning to higher education and those graduating high school. 

"Looking back, it’s a regret, frankly, that I didn’t just start at Ivy Tech after graduating high school. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and it just felt like a four-year college was the thing you were supposed to do,” Ehman started. “I would highly recommend for those coming out of high school who maybe aren't 100% certain what they want to do, or who want to stay close to home, or who want to save a little bit of money, or if you're paying tuition out of your own pocket – Ivy Tech is an incredible option,” he emphasized. “ It's a gateway to academia, offering invaluable support and resources for personal and professional growth."

As Ehman looks ahead to completing his bachelor's degree and embracing the joys of parenthood, his journey serves as a beacon of inspiration. His unwavering pursuit of excellence and steadfast commitment to growth exemplify the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.