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Tag: MS

#WhatsYourWhy Wednesday with Tara Holderith

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

Last fall, we held a scholarship competition and asked our students to tell us their story — their why — behind their decision to enroll in a graduate program. This series will profile our scholarship winners.

Read previous #WhatsYourWhy Wednesday posts here, here and here.

Tara with one of her students

Tara with one of her students

Graduate Professional Studies: I’m here with Tara Holderith, a student in our Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program. Congratulations on winning our first “What’s Your Why” scholarship! Tell us where you’re from.

Tara Holderith: Thank you! I’m from Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania.

GPS: How many courses have you taken with GPS so far?

TH: I’ve taken four courses. My first term was this past summer, and I took Principles of Online Instructional Design and Professional Communications. In the fall, I took Learning Analytics, which was a new course, and Advanced Instructional Design. This term I also enrolled in two courses.

GPS: Could you tell us about your day job?

TH: I’ve been teaching for 18 years. I am currently a sixth grade mathematics teacher in New Jersey.

GPS: What was the main driver in helping you decide to go back to school to get your graduate degree?

TH: I had both professional and personal reasons. Last winter, our school principal approached me and started a conversation about pedagogy and instructional design. He realized my passion and challenged me to go back to school. At first I was like “with what time?” But after careful consideration and some research, the rest is history.

GPS: What do you hope to gain professionally with this degree?

TH: Professionally, I want to gain more cutting-edge skillsets. My passion is designing innovative pedagogy according to best practices, so I’m hoping to develop even more skills in addition to those I have already learned in just four classes here at GPS.

GPS: Glad to hear! What do you hope to gain personally out of the program?

TH: I’ve come to the program to be a lifelong learner and learning for learning’s sake. I already have a master’s degree so getting another one isn’t going to directly benefit me financially. However, in terms of my personal growth and my desire to continue learning, this was the perfect opportunity for me and it was directly aligning with what I was looking for.

GPS: Awesome! Why do you think you will be successful in graduate school?

TH: I was just having this conversation with one of my supervisors and I said that when it comes to work ethic, there is no limit with me. Time is never an issue because I will do whatever it takes to complete the workload. I do have three children so it has cost me sleep on different occasions, but because I love educating and bettering myself it is really no bother to me.

GPS: Can you think of an example of any course assignment that you have directly utilized in a current or previous role at work?

TH: I was thinking about this question recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are so many different assignments that have actually been relevant. As a mother of three working full-time, time is very limited so I’ve been combining a lot of my work duties with my school responsibilities. I’ve found there is a lot of alignment, which has enabled me to give 100 percent to both my job and school.

GPS: Now a couple of fun questions. What do you like to do outside of work and school?

TH: Two of my children are USA swimmers so I spend a lot of time at swim meets. When I’m not doing that, I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on, and I like to exercise and hike.

Enjoying nature with family

Enjoying nature with family

GPS: Are you a swimmer too?

TH: I was, but I always say that even though I am not a swimmer now, chlorine still seems to be my perfume and colleagues have even said that they can smell it on me.

GPS: Anything else you would like to add?

TH: Just that I’m extremely grateful to be part of this program. It has been such an opportunity for me and like I said before, I’m doing it because I love learning and so far it has been exactly what I expected plus more. I’ve developed a great cohort of classmates already and I really enjoy the diversity in terms of our professional experience.

#WhatsYourWhy Wednesday with Patrick McGraw

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

Last fall, we held a scholarship competition and asked our students to tell us their story — their why — behind their decision to enroll in a graduate program. This series will profile our scholarship winners.

Read previous #WhatsYourWhy Wednesday posts here and here.

 

Patrick Mcgraw - Brandeis GPS online Education - Brandeis GPS blogGraduate Professional Studies: I’m here with Patrick McGraw, a student in our Master of Science in Strategic Analytics program. Congratulations on winning our first “What’s Your Why” scholarship! Tell us where you’re from.

Patrick McGraw: Hi, I’m Patrick McGraw, and I live in Bergen County, New Jersey.

GPS: How many courses have you taken with GPS so far?

PM: I’m currently on my third course with GPS.

GPS: Great! Tell me more about what you do for work.

PM: I am a senior vice president and general manager at Ipsos MMA.  We are a marketing effectiveness consultancy firm based in New York with offices in Norwalk, CT and Chicago. We are also opening international offices in London.

GPS:  What was the main driver in helping you decide to go back to school to get your graduate degree?

PM: The main driver has always been a focus on continuous learning and development, and this is something that leaders I’ve worked with throughout my career have been big champions of. But another big thing is that my industry is at a point of change from a marketing standpoint — there have been huge shifts from traditional marketing tools and tactics into digital marketing and the realms of social media.

Ultimately, I decided it was time to refresh my industry experience  with the latest academic perspectives so that I could continue to drive value for my clients and for my company, and to most effectively coach and develop the people who work with me and for me.

GPS: What made you choose GPS over some other programs that you considered?

PM:  I felt that Brandeis has a nice mix of focus on leadership and the application and integration of the work into a business environment. This is my second master’s, so I was looking for an integrative approach that teaches you to elevate the application in addition to updating the technique.

PicMonkey Sample

GPS: You’ve already touched on this a bit, but is there anything else you hope to gain professionally once you complete the program?

PM: My goal is to be an effective business partner for the clients we serve and to be able to bring the most updated, wide-range perspective and thinking to my work. I want to make sure I’m being the most able coach and developer in the organization that I lead. There is also an underlying personal satisfaction. I love to learn and extend what I’m thinking about in my work every day. GPS really drives you and forces you to do that as part of the process.

GPS: What do you think it takes to be successful at completing a program like this?

PM: You have to have the motivation to do it, and you have to be disciplined about setting aside a good block of time during
the week to do work, whether that is a weekend morning or “on the fly.”

GPS: Can you think of an example where you have been able to directly apply your coursework to what you do at your job?

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with family

PM: Yes, there are a range of applications that come up in this job that really make me think about applying what I’ve learned in my courses. This includes taking the business intelligence perspective I gained through my first course to polishing up on my statistics last summer to even my most recent leadership class. These applications have given me the opportunity to rethink my role in my
organization, and how to coach and develop the team that I lead and the colleagues I work with every day.

GPS: What do you like to do outside of the class and the office?

PM: I focus my extra time on my family. I have a wife and three children, and it’s important that we carve out time for each other. I enjoy spending my free time being adventurous.  My son and I go on a rafting and rock-climbing trip every summer. I also like to fish with my brother and father. I do a lot of outdoor activities to balance out all the desk time.

For more information on the Strategic Analytics program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

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