Q: What year did you graduate from the program?
A: I graduated from the Communication and Leadership Studies program in May 2011.
Q: What is your occupation?
A: I am the radio station manager for WLUW 88.7 FM at Loyola University Chicago. I work with the student executive board to manage the daily operations of WLUW, a college radio station comprised of 150 student and community member DJs, which offers independent music to 3-million-plus listeners in the Chicago market.
Q: Why did you decide to return to school for a masters degree?
A: I wanted to further develop my career in higher education and knew that obtaining a graduate degree would allow me to grow personally and open new doors professionally. I was fortunate to have received a lot of support from family and colleagues at Parkland College, my previous employer, which made the decision to pursue further studies an easy one.
Q: Why did you choose the COML program?
A: I wanted to engage myself in a program that offered curricula encompassing communication theory and application, while also providing a course schedule that allowed me to continue working full-time. The content of the courses combined with the online work and on-campus residencies made the COML program an attractive, innovative, and valuable option.
Q: Was the online learning experience what you thought it would be?
A: One of the most rewarding offerings of the online learning experience was engaging in thoughtful and meaningful dialogue with peers residing in locations across the nation who embodied diverse backgrounds, extensive skills, and varied interests.
Q: Do you see the world differently because of this program?
A: Absolutely. The servant-leadership component of this program has especially made a positive impact on my life. Professionally, it has allowed me to become a more effective manager. On a personal note, the servant-leadership subject matter has deeply impacted my calling to serve animals and promote animal rights.
Q: What was your experience with the faculty?
A: The faculty empowered me to grow professionally, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Dr. Crandall was my advisor, and her guidance and encouragement were with me from the very beginning. She gave me the confidence to research and write a thesis that explored a topic I was most passionate about. Dr. Caputo’s leadership and patience empowered me to pursue my passion to serve animals, and Dr. Ferch’s guidance and support led me to publishing an article in the International Journal of Servant-Leadership.
Q: Did you find the program to be a good investment?
A: I am working my dream job at Loyola University Chicago, and I know I can contribute this achievement to a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck, and my graduate studies at Gonzaga University. Through this program I accomplished my initial goal of further developing my career in higher education.
Q: Many of our students find their graduate experience to be transformational. Has the program transformed you and how so?
A: I can honestly say that I feel a calling to serve others. This feeling is something that awakened within me while pursuing the program.
Q: We talk about finding your “inner zag” – meaning students who are in the program have this moment when they feel a real connection with the program and the school. What is your “inner zag”?
A: My “inner zag” is being mindful, empathetic, and always seeking greater change.