Current occupation: Events and Strategic Communications Coordinator
What made you decide to pursue your degree as an adult?
I knew I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. as soon as I received my master’s degree. It became a personal goal and dream that I wanted to check off my “life list.” However, it took over a decade before I felt the time was right to go back to school. During the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt stuck in my house with little to do except work. It gave me a lot of time to reflect on my life and how I wanted the rest of it to go. Pursuing a Ph.D. kept coming up as what felt like the next step for me. That is when I began seriously investigating different programs.
Why did you choose to study at Tiffin University?
I looked at several schools before choosing Tiffin University. All the programs had strengths and weaknesses, but TU was the best fit. I liked that I could take one class at a time while working full-time. In addition, the Ph.D. Director, Dr. Kenneth Rauch, explained how focused the coursework is on preparing students for the dissertation phase. He made the dissertation seem less intimidating, and I could tell that TU cared about my success. Lastly, I am a Tiffin University alumnus. I received my B.B.A. in 2008, and my experience as an undergrad was nothing short of amazing. TU has been good to me, and I knew it would be good again while pursuing my Ph.D.
What has been your experience with the program so far?
I still have a ways to go in the program, but I have enjoyed myself so far. The professors care a lot. They make themselves available to answer questions. They are also quick to grade assignments and papers. There are additional ways the program has been great. For example, my academic advisors schedule my classes for me. The Pfeiffer Library has access to an incredible amount of resources, which makes researching topics for papers easy. The program’s platform, Moodle, is intuitive and makes navigating each class easy.
How has your experience been with your cohort and faculty?
TU’s faculty for the Ph.D. program are highly qualified. At the beginning of each class, they provide their biographies, and I am always amazed at how much teaching and work experience they possess. The students in the program are equally as impressive. Some are professors themselves, while others are small business owners, corporate executives, and government employees. Every interaction with a faculty member or my cohort provides me with an opportunity to learn something new. Everyone is very professional.
How are you juggling work, life, and going back to school? Any tips?
It can be a bit stressful to juggle everything. As a Ph.D. student, you must read and write a lot. I recommend that students learn to squeeze in some reading and writing whenever they get a few minutes free. While it is terrific if you can, you do not need to read an entire chapter all at once. You also do not need to write a paper in a single writing session. Learn to work reading and writing into your lifestyle. It feels natural after a while.
What keeps you motivated to stay in the program?
Once I make up my mind that I will do something, I commit to it fully. The Ph.D. program is something that I feel that I must complete now that I have started it. In a past life, I was an athlete in a sport where I had to grind every day to get the success I wanted. I apply the same mentality to the Ph.D. program. I know I can succeed and eventually have Ph.D. next to my name, but I understand that getting it will take hard work.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is thinking about going back to school?
If getting a degree is important to you, go for it! Just be ready to commit yourself and do whatever it takes to get through the program. When you are old and looking back on your life, I highly doubt you will be disappointed that you did the work to receive your dream degree.
TU’s motto is: Without risk there is no gain. Can you tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you gained from it?
It’s a bit noteworthy that some of the most significant risks I have taken involve Tiffin University. Many years ago, when I came to TU as a twenty-three-year-old adult student for my bachelor’s degree, I quit a decent-paying factory job to move across the state to attend college classes and run for the school’s cross country team. I ended up graduating summa cum laude and became a two-time All-American athlete, earning me a place in TU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. I went on to receive an M.B.A. from Wright State University and have a successful career as a marketing professional. I took another risk when I decided to pursue a Ph.D., and I have already gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom from being in the program. I am excited to see where life takes me after I complete it.