UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (May 12, 2011) -- Sgt. Margaret Smith chose a Pennsylvania State University online degree program to help her achieve her education goal while serving on active duty.

Smith, an information technology specialist with 742nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 704th MI Brigade, will travel to Penn State's University Park campus to pick up her bachelor's degree at the College of the Liberal Arts' commencement ceremony Saturday.

Smith, of Fort Belvoir, Va., is the married mother of a 2-year-old daughter and 7-year-old stepdaughter. Her husband also is in the Army.

She began college in 1998, but left before completing her degree. Smith traveled and worked, then enlisted in the Army. After tours in Germany and Iraq, she enrolled in Penn State's World Campus in 2009 and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in law and society degree.

Smith is planning to attend graduate school. She has been accepted into Penn State's online MBA program as well as a public policy program at another university. She also has applied to the Army's Green to Gold Master's Degree Active Duty Option Program.

"What attracted me to the World Campus was that it was a SOC school," said Smith, referring to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges' designation for military-friendly institutions. "The online option allowed me to remain an active-duty Soldier and a part-time student. It's been great."