Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Peirce College Boasts Highest National Minority Enrollment in Online Bachelor’s Degrees

At Peirce, we firmly believe in providing students of all ages and backgrounds with access to higher education. Last week, our mission received national attention when the College was ranked first in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for having the highest percentage of minority-students enrolled in an online bachelor’s degree program!

In a June 16th analysis of data from nearly 300 colleges and universities, Peirce tops the chart with 76 percent of students pursuing online coursework reporting to be either Hispanic, black, indigenous, Asian, Polynesian or multiracial.

Peirce College’s large population of minority online undergraduates counters the national trend. A recent study by Aslanian Market Research and The Learning House, Inc. says nearly 70 percent of the nation’s online students are white.

“Peirce College has embraced diversity and inclusion and is committed to creating an environment that provides access to employer-valued education for all students,” said President James J. Mergiotti.  “Our interchangeable course delivery format eliminates many of the obstacles faced by adult learners, allowing students of all ages and backgrounds to reach their full potential and be successful in the workplace.”

Peirce is fully committed to breaking down barriers toward degree completion for all students.  As we mentioned in March beginning this fall with four of our health programs and our graduate studies program, and then rolling out across the rest of the curriculum over the next year, Peirce students can decide from week to week whether to attend their classes in person or online as part of the College’s unique flexible delivery format. Peirce is the first institution in the Philadelphia region – and among the first in the nation – to roll out this adaptable environment over its entire curriculum.  

As a major supporter of Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s education efforts, we were also one of the first schools in the region to participate in the Returning to Learning Partnership program, providing City of Philadelphia employees and their families with a 25% tuition discount. By partnering with major local employers, the College plays a large role in training the region’s workforce and positively impacting the local economy.

“Peirce College has long served the diverse needs of its students, no matter their race, age or background.  With flexible degree programs focused on meeting the demands of the 21st century workforce, Peirce prepares Philadelphians for future careers,” said Mayor Nutter.  “I want to thank Peirce College for supporting its students throughout the post-secondary learning process, both in class and online, especially minority students who are frequently underserved.”

Peirce College is proud of the diverse experiences and identities that make up our community, and we’re always excited to celebrate those differences.  To learn more about how Peirce College stacks up nationally, you can read the full U.S. News & World Report article here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Balancing Work, Life, and Education, a 150 Year Focus at Peirce College

Thomas May Peirce first opened the doors in 1865 for returning Civil War vets to gain the skills needed to compete in a shifting workplace. Since then, Peirce College has remained committed to the vision of being the recognized leader in higher education for providing adult learners a direct and customized path to employer valued skills and credentials.

By maintaining this focus over the past 150 years, Peirce has gained valuable insights into the challenges working adults face when trying to balance work and family while pursuing their education. Based on this understanding, we’ve continuously rolled out new, flexible learning models to help students achieve a balance and meet their goals.

Examples of this can be seen dating back to the school’s founding when classes offered a great deal of flexibility to accommodate fully-employed students. At that time, students could begin classes at any time and take as long as they needed to complete them, evening classes were available, and classes were offered year round – an innovative concept at the time.

Fast-forward over 100 years to 1999 and this focus on making education more accessible for working adults continued with the piloting of online courses. Since their launch, Peirce has been featured on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best online bachelor’s degree programs numerous times.

Today we continue our support of working adult students by offering a variety of class formats to best meet the challenges of students’ busy lives. These formats include day and evening classes, innovative online courses, and our newest course delivery system which allows students to choose on a class-by-class basis whether to attend online or in person. In addition, Peirce recently began offering weekend intensive classes that allow students to complete an entire three-credit course in only three weeks. 

As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, we look forward to another 150 years of offering the latest innovations that allow adult students to customize their education in the manner most convenient for their busy lives.

To celebrate with us, click here.


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Monday, June 22, 2015

Sibling Support Makes All the Difference For A Pair Of Peirce Grads

We told you earlier this month about Renee Martin, Ramona Watson, and Brenda Eldridge—the mother and two-daughter trio who graduated together in Peirce’s Class of 2015. Family ties run through this year’s graduating class in other ways, too: On June 11th, siblings Rahim Bey and Teanna Payne completed their bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration together. Rahim, 27, earned his degree with a concentration in Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management, while Teanna, 39, concentrated in Management.

 It’s not surprising that Rahim and Teanna majored in the same subject. The two have been close for most of their lives and now have a goal to start their own business together.

 “I had a vision of running my own business and knew I had to go back to school to achieve it,” said Rahim when we talked to him about his Peirce experience. “At first I felt like I wasn’t going to be ready and might have jumped into it too fast. But with support from family, advisors, and faculty, I was able to stick with it.”

Teanna, a mother of three, also told us about the difference her family made in her educational journey. “I was 35 with teenagers running around. I didn’t know what to expect with going back to school. What kept me motivated was that I always tell my children to finish what they start. I knew I couldn’t preach that and not practice it.”

The duo also told us they had instructors that they felt they could rely on, including Business Faculty Chair Dr. Mike Schirmer. “He is really invested in his students,” Teanna said.

Looking back on their experience, Rahim and Teanna have some advice to share for other adult learners earning their degrees. “Time management!” they chimed in together.

“You also need a positive support system,” Teanna added. “We had each other.”

Now their degrees are the stepping stones they need to move into the next phase of their careers.

“Remember, in today’s job market you need a degree to do anything,” Teanna said. “Giving yourself an education is the biggest investment you can make in yourself. If you love yourself and know you’re worth it, don’t be scared to invest.”

And it’s family that helped Rahim and Teanna get there. The siblings reflected on their mother at the end of our conversation and told me they wanted to dedicate this blog post to her. “Her choices made us stronger and want more for ourselves and our families,” Teanna said.

Congratulations on earning your degrees, Rahim and Teanna! We can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Class of 2015 Grad Gets Closer to Her Peirce Family


Mary Grassia has been a part of the Peirce community for 9 years, working in the Registrar's office. But this month she’s added a couple new connections to the Peirce family: She's one of the first graduates of our Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management degree program (MSOLM), and she’s the first award recipient of our Patricia A. Rucker Graduate Studies Award for Academic Excellence.

We caught up with Mary to talk about her Peirce educational experience and what she’s planning to do with her new degree. Here’s what she told us.

***
Why did you decide to go back to school at Peirce?

I’m the first one in my family to earn any kind of college degree, so I wanted to do it for myself and for my family. A master’s degree would let me grow within my career. I was looking for a positive educational experience, and I knew from working at Peirce that completing a degree program here would fit with my schedule and my goals.

What was your experience like at Peirce in the MSOLM program?

I had a great experience. Time management and scheduling were very important. As a working adult, I had to balance school in between work and personal responsibilities. I also was able to get involved in the Graduate Student Association, which was a great forum for learning more leadership skills.

How will your degree help you in your career path?
My degree program helped me build leadership skills that I can use right now in my professional life. One of the books I read as part of my program was “Working with Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. It’s a good example of some of the lessons in professional development that I learned in the MSOLM program—things like how to listen better, give and receive feedback, resolve conflicts, and build stronger relationships in all aspects of your life.

What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering pursuing their master’s degree?
Breathe. Going back to school can be challenging sometimes, but keep pushing! Earning my master’s degree is something I really wanted for myself, and I committed to it. I’m so glad I did. The whole Graduate Studies team is so supportive. They make it easier.

What are your plans now that you’ve earned your master’s degree?
I want to keep growing within my career. I’m considering pursuing a Ph.D. And of course, I will be celebrating with my family and friends!

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Way to go, Mary! We’re proud of your success and thankful for all you do at Peirce!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peirce Master’s Degree Tuition Sees no Increase for 3 years, Provides High Value to Students

More and more people are seeking Master’s Degrees to advance their education and further their careers. However, with the cost of college tuition continually increasing, many are finding this pursuit financially challenging.

In light of these developments, Peirce is proud of the fact we’ve been able to keep tuition for our Master’s degree flat for the past 3 years.

It’s very unusual for any type of a program to hold tuition flat for 3 years in a row, particularly in today’s higher education climate in which we see regular tuition hikes from both public and private institutions as well as rising student loan debt levels.

In the midst of all of these developments, we’re in a pretty fortunate position in that we’ve been able to keep tuition flat. We’ve been able to do this by keeping our costs low, keeping operations very conservative, and by using our resources very wisely. For example, our faculty members perform a number of different roles such as course development, teaching, recruiting, admissions, and advising.  We’ve also leveraged the College’s existing resources in order to provide support structures for the Graduate program. These efficiencies create savings that we’re able to pass on to students as a non-profit institution.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Peirce can help you take the next step in your career, visit our Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Management (MSOLM) page or email us at masters@peirce.edu.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

There’s no stopping a Marine who aims to earn his college degree in 2.5 years

“Set a goal and get it done.” That Marine mentality helped Eric Hanson not only serve his country with honor, but it also let him earn his bachelor’s degree in just two-and-a-half years—well ahead of the typically four-year timeline. The former Corporal is graduating from Peirce College this month with his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and concentration in Management.
We had the opportunity to talk to Eric about his decision to go to school after serving 4 years in the Marines and coming home to Philadelphia. In our interview, we learned what his experience was like and how he managed the transition from the military to the classroom.

***
Why did you decide to go to college after serving in the Marines?
It was always one of my goals. I thought about it early in life but it became reality after my military training and service. About five or six months after I finished my service, I started at Peirce.

What was the process like for you to enroll in college after the military?
The process went really well. The military representative at Peirce was really helpful. She went over my benefits, scheduled my classes, and guided me along the way.

How were you able to complete your degree in just two-and-a-half years?
One of the good things about Peirce is that I was able to come in with 27 credits from my military experience. That’s something other schools don’t do. So I had 93 credits left to earn, which normally takes about three-and-a-half years. I wanted to get it done faster, so I took five classes every semester—usually four on campus and one online. I also took classes in the summer.

What do you hope to do with your bachelor’s degree?
I’m planning to go into finance or accounting. I’ll be pursuing my Master’s degree starting in the fall.

What was it like to transition from the Marines to college?
The great thing about Peirce when transitioning from the military is that classes are small. You’re engaged the entire time. I don’t think I had a class that was over 20 people. It was easy to ask questions as you go along and stay on top of everything. That was something they stressed in the military—work in teams and stay on top of everything as much as you can.

What was your degree program like at Peirce?
I learned a lot in many areas. My degree program touched on everything—finance, accounting, statistics. In group projects, I was able to learn from students who are working in the business field. That’s another good thing about Peirce. You can learn from each other—students, instructors.

What were some of the most memorable parts of your Peirce experience?
The fact that it is a smaller school. I think it enhances your ability to learn. That was huge for me. People are there to learn and work hard. The professors hit home for me. They were really helpful and relatable. They can relate to living a busy lifestyle, juggling different things, and making it happen.

Did you have a favorite professor at Peirce?
I liked all my professors, but the one who sticks out the most for me is Professor Nick Wernicki. His philosophy class made me think differently—not just about philosophy, but about how to think intuitively and outside the box.

How do you think your military experience help you succeed at Peirce?
My experience helped me a lot. I remained disciplined with others things in my life—work, family. Setting timelines, meeting goals, attending classes. I set a goal and got it done.

What words of encouragement would you offer others who may be reading this?
I am the first in my family to earn a college degree and all it took was believing in myself and putting in the work. It is important to push through when times are tough or things get hard and to never give up. I encourage anyone to take the first step in whatever they're passionate about and always see it through to the end. In doing so,  you will almost always find new talents along the way that you never knew you had. Don't let fear of failure or doubt scare you away from doing something great and achieving your goals!

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Congratulations on earning your bachelor’s degree, Eric, and thank you for your service to our country! We’re looking forward to seeing where your future takes you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

City Worker Answers Mayor Nutter’s Call to Earn a College Degree

One of Mayor Nutter’s first orders of duty when he took office in 2008 was his pledge to double the percentage of Philadelphians with bachelor's degrees over the next decade. Carolyn Terry did not miss a beat in taking advantage of these educational initiatives, and this year, she is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Peirce College.

We had a chance to talk to the 55-year-old mother of four about going to college while working and supporting her family, and what she plans to do with her degree. Here is her story.

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Tell us why you started thinking about returning to school.
When Mayor Nutter began his first term, he challenged city employees who didn’t have their undergrad degree to return to school. It had been many years since I was a student.   However, I was excited about the opportunity because the City offered evening Math and English refresher courses. I went for 12 weeks to the Training Center for Local 1199c (National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees).  The classes were held twice a week in the evenings.   I was able to go to class at
the end of my work day.  

When did Peirce enter your radar?
The mayor offered city employees a tuition discount and application fee waiver if they considered one of the institutions that were a part of the Return to Learning network. Peirce was one of those institutions. Peirce has always held a special place in my heart. My oldest son graduated from Peirce in 2001 with his Associate degree in hospitality management. . His wife is also a Peirce graduate and now a professor in the Graduate program at Peirce. My third son, Andre, is currently attending Peirce and is working on his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

What was your experience like at Peirce?
Peirce was an excellent educational experience for me. I love the support that Peirce extends to current students. The first great experience was the Walker Center. If you’re struggling, there’s someone at the Walker Center to help you. The second great experience was the availability of Peirce instructors—being able to email and call a professor and receive a timely response. I felt like it was one-on-one learning. Another great experience was the leadership retreat with the Walker Center. These services enhanced and improved my learning experience tremendously.

What was it like balancing family life with school?
All my sons are grown and I have two at home with my husband. For me, the balance was saying no to my family or friends’ invites.    The juggle for me was being sensitive to family needs and also being mindful of my commitment to do well in school.

What tips and tricks did you learn for achieving a good work-life-school balance?
I was committed to making Saturday and Sunday homework time. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. I tried to get laundry and housework done during the week. I asked my sons to chip in more than they usually do. I used the Peirce library as my study haven.  I would go to the Peirce library to complete an assignment or do further research during my lunch hours. With an accelerated degree program, it’s about making the best use of your time.

What are your plans after graduation?
One of my lifelong dreams is to be a teacher. I am thinking about going to graduate school and enrolling in an education program. It’s not too late to pursue education.  Some people might say, why do you want to get a degree at this age? My thinking is, I’m still breathing, I’m still alive, I still have to eat every day, so I’ll just keep going to find something I enjoy.   I attended the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference where I was challenged by a presenter who asked, “who said we had to stay in the same position, until retirement?”

What advice would you give to other working adults who are considering going to college?
Make school a priority. Be committed to your classes. Don’t expect more from the teacher than you’re willing to give.

Any final thoughts about going to college as an adult learner?
I can’t thank Peirce enough. For everything that looked like an obstacle to me, there was someone at Peirce that helped me overcome it. Peirce had the computers I needed when my laptop broke. Peirce found me scholarship money. The commitment Peirce has to its students, for me, it was just awesome. I don’t know if I would have been successful anywhere else.

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Congratulations on earning your degree, Carolyn! Best of luck and we look forward to seeing you at Commencement 2015!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Family Ties: Mother and Two Daughters Complete Classes, Degrees Together at Peirce

At Peirce, we occasionally have multiple members of the same family graduating together. We’re always so excited when someone tells us that they went back to school with their sibling/father/grandmother because their stories of motivating each other are inspiring to hear.
Luckily, the tradition is continuing and Commencement 2015 is a family affair for a mother and her two daughters.

After graduating from South Philadelphia High School in 2004, Renee Martin tried to go back to school twice but wasn’t able to persist. In 2013, she looked to her future and realized that now was the time to get serious about earning her degree. As a consumer product advisor for Microsoft, she needed a bachelor’s degree to move into a management position, so she started doing her homework on schools in the Philadelphia region.

A few months before Renee’s moment of realization, her mother, Ramona Watson, had done her own research on the best option for going back to school and found Peirce. Ramona has worked at the Philadelphia Water Department since she was 19 and, like her daughter, realized she needed to earn her degree to stand out from the crowd and advance further in her career.

She enrolled at Peirce in January 2013 and encouraged Renee to do the same. Peirce offers all City of Philadelphia employees, their spouses and their children a 25% discount on tuition, allowing Ramona, Renee, and second daughter Brenda Eldridge to attend Peirce affordably.

Brenda is the mother of two children, ages 1 and 6, and works two jobs. She never really considered getting her degree after graduating from South Philly High in 2006 but after having children, she knew she wanted to make a better life for them. After seeing her mom go back to school, she decided to join her sister and they both started classes in March 2013.

Now, all three are graduating together! Renee and Ramona are graduating with associate degrees in business administration, concentration in management, and Brenda is graduating with an associate degree in criminal justice studies. Over the past two years, they've had several classes together and have been each other's biggest cheerleaders.

In the beginning, Ramona was the motivator for her two daughters, often calling them to ask why they hadn't responded to the online discussion threads yet. Now that they have two years of classes under their belts, they all take turns being the encouraging one. In fact, in a recent course, Renee was the one calling her mother to ask why she hadn't responded to the discussion thread yet.

All three women are dedicated to earning their degrees and have already started classes at Peirce toward their bachelor’s degrees. "We thought about taking a break [after earning their associates' degrees]," said Renee. "But we know we have to just keep going."

Ramona convinced her daughters that persistence was the best way forward: “I told them that they already had their break. I said, look at how long it’s been since you graduated from high school. That was your break. Now it’s time to finish.”

When Ramona graduated from Bartram Motivation Center in 1987, she wasn’t able to participate in her graduation ceremony. So when she walks across the stage at the Kimmel Center on June 11th, with her daughters by her side, it will be an extra special moment: “I just love that we’re taking this journey together.”

We can’t wait to see all three of these determined women accept their diplomas next week. Thanks for sharing your stories with us, Renee, Ramona, and Brenda, and best of luck as you continue in your studies!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Philadelphia Healthcare Worker Boosts Her Career through Corporate Partnership

Nicky Cuesta knows her secret to career success: Keep a close connection between her educational journey and her job. She joined Health Partners Plans in Philadelphia in 2006 as a customer service representative, and began learning everything she could on the job to build a career with the company.

Her commitment paid off when Health Partners Plans recommended that Nicky apply to Peirce College to earn her associate degree in Health Information Technology (HIT). Health Partners Plans is one of over 20 Peirce College corporate partners that work with us to drive workforce development through education.

Now a member of the Class of 2015, Nicky has a lot to say about her experience at Peirce and how it’s impacting her career. Read our Q&A with Nicky to find out where she is now.

Why did you choose to go back to school?
I attended an information session about Peirce through my employer, and saw that a degree in Health Information Technology would be the bridge to advancing my career. An HIT degree would let me immediately use my education for career development.

Once you decided that Peirce’s HIT program was right for you, how did you make it work financially?
I was able to get a 25-percent tuition discount through the corporate partnership between Peirce and Health Partners Plans. Steve Bird [Peirce Program Manager, Institutional Partnerships] was also a great help. He guided me through the starting phases and encouraged me to apply for the Presidential Scholarship. I said to myself, "I have nothing to lose and everything to gain." I was so excited to find out that I was one of several students selected to receive a scholarship.

What was your experience like in Peirce’s HIT program?
It was a pleasure to go to Peirce. The faculty and staff are everything an individual needs on their educational journey. Peirce caters to all people wanting to get to the next phase of their life. When I joined the Peirce family, I already knew I was in good hands. The resources I received went above and beyond my expectations.

How did you balance school with family and work?
Having a family and a full-time job, I decided to take all my courses online. I created a system that worked for me. I studied on some holidays and didn’t go away on vacation during certain months when I was busier. The challenge wasn't easy, but it was priceless.

How is your HIT degree now helping you in your healthcare career?
I was recently promoted within my company to Precert Coordinator in Utilization Management. I was able to move into the new position because I learned a lot of medical coding skills in my HIT classes.

That’s great to hear. What are your plans after graduation?
Taking some time off, and then I start classes to earn my bachelor’s in Healthcare Information Administration at Peirce in July.

Do you have advice to give fellow adult learners and other students who are considering a degree in HIT?
Do it! HIT will be around for a long time, and you can find work in a variety of environments—hospitals, inpatient facilities, doctor’s offices, insurance companies. There is a lot of opportunity.

What thoughts do you have as you prepare to start your next Peirce degree program?
I am proud of how far I have come. I want to thank all those that support me—my family, friends, and Peirce. Professor Donovan is a master at what she does and I have to thank her for assisting me through the ride. Peirce will always be a part of my life and I just want to make sure they know that they are doing it right.

Way to go, Nicky! Congratulations on earning your associate degree, and we’re looking forward to welcoming you back at Peirce!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Peirce Student Spotlight: Dana Stancil Makes Good on a Promise to go Back to School

Dana Stancil has a saying in her family: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” Those words are ringing true for her today as a member of the Peirce College Class of 2015. Although Dana is earning her bachelor’s degree many years later than she thought—the divorced parent went back to school after raising her two sons—she is finishing stronger than ever.

We got a chance to sit down with Dana and talk about how she returned to school to make good on her promise to graduate college. Here’s what she told us.

Why did you decide to go back to school?
I have a great support system that wouldn’t let me forget that I needed to finish what I started. I
Dana Stancil
graduated from Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown in 1990 and was proud to graduate a member of the National Honor Society as a cabinet member. I was pregnant with my first of two sons. I set aside full-ride scholarships to two colleges in Philadelphia to become a mother and wife. I wanted to perfect those roles and I planned to someday go back and get my bachelor’s degree.

And that time came a couple years ago.
Exactly. My support system said to me, your sons are grown now. It’s time for you to refocus. I filled out Peirce’s application and was accepted.

What field are you majoring in?
I’m earning my bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management  and it is my desire to build up my career in that field.

How would you describe your experience overall at Peirce?
My experience was well rounded. I went into it with the purpose of being myself and taking full advantage of every opportunity that was offered to me. I took classes online and on-campus. I was friendly to everyone, and everyone was friendly to me—from President Mergiotti, Uva Coles, Rosemary Connors, Kristen Irey and so many others that I cannot name them all. I never met anyone at Peirce, whether an executive or instructor or student, who wasn’t like family to me.

Did you get involved in activities and clubs at Peirce?
I got involved in so many things. I met a wide range of people. Peirce’s Walker Center offers so many opportunities for growth and development. I attended the Annual Leadership Retreats, learned time management, stress management, and even how to remember to eat healthy. That’s how I was able to remain so involved. I served as president of the Peirce chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as well.

What was it like to manage all your family and work responsibilities while going to school?
It was a balancing act. I supported my sons as much as they supported me. It was wonderful coming home to prepared dinners! They loved me through it and I loved them through it. Now I’m graduating and I have my two young men, Joe (‘JT’) and Christopher, sitting in the audience as my support system. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What are your plans after graduation?
I’m planning to earn my master’s degree in Human Capital Development. I’m always looking for opportunities for growth and development.

What advice would you give to prospective adult learners?
“It’s not how you start, but how you finish”. You have to make decisions to develop yourself, step out, and take risks. I researched scholarships like a part-time job and never counted myself out of any application. I surrounded myself with positive people who encouraged me often. Through that, I was able to keep my head up and stay focused. My late father, Rev. Sylvester Lee Green, was always a great source of encouragement for me. He passed away 17 years ago, but I believe his hand is somewhere in all of this because he would not let me forget to ‘finish what I had started’. Finally, don’t ever give up on your dreams, keep pushing and you’ll get there.

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Congratulations on earning your degree, Dana, and thank you for sharing your story!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Philly Mom Finds the Formula for Earning a Master’s Degree

June 11th will be a big day for Lourdes Jesukiewicz. The mother of four will be walking at Peirce College’s 2015 Commencement ceremony to get her master’s degree. This diploma will officially make Lourdes a two-time Peirce graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Peirce and is a member of Peirce’s first class of master’s degree graduates.

Lourdes enrolled in Peirce’s Organizational Leadership & Management degree program in 2013, when our program launched. Two short years later, the 47-year-old says, “I’m a completely different person. I’m so much more confident. I can add value, and I know that now.”
Lourdes Jesukiewicz

How did Lourdes do it? We caught up with her to learn more about her Peirce experience:

Why did you decide to go back to school to earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees?
I had a secretarial job with no room for advancement. Every day was the same thing and I wanted to set myself up for greater success in my career and be a stronger role model for my children. I first enrolled at Peirce in October 2011 to finish my bachelor’s degree, which I completed in December 2012. But I didn’t want to stop there! As soon as I found out that Peirce was offering a master’s degree program, I jumped to enroll with the first class the following September.

What made you want to continue at Peirce to earn your master’s in Organizational Leadership and Management?
I knew I would get the same support system I got as an undergraduate adult learner. When I first applied to Peirce for my bachelor’s degree, the admissions department walked me through everything I needed to know to enroll and made me less scared about managing my education with work, family, and everything else in my life.

Did you get the support you expected as a Peirce master’s degree student?
Beyond. Everyone at Peirce wanted me to succeed. I had a whole team of people—from admissions to financial aid to professors and fellow students—rooting for me. My peers were really important, too. We had such a great supportive environment with one another because we were all coming from the same place.

Any words of wisdom to pass on to students who are enrolled in a master’s degree program right now?
Form relationships. Network. The people you meet will be bridges to new opportunities. Focus on time management. It is critical to staying organized and on track. And find a support system. My husband, kids, and the entire Peirce community were my support system.

What would you say to prospective students who are on the fence about going back to school?
I would be such a cheerleader for them—just cheering, “Do it! Do it!” I went back to finish my undergraduate degree in 2011 and now I’m finishing my graduate degree. I’m a completely different person. I’m so much more confident. I can add value, and I know that now. Peirce was the best decision I ever made.

What is the best thing about getting your master’s degree?
Getting access to new career opportunities, gaining confidence, building my leadership skills. I’m ready to take the next step!

Any parting words about your overall experience at Peirce?
I would do anything for Peirce! They made me who I am today.

Congratulations on earning your master’s degree, Lourdes! We can’t wait to watch you walk across the stage of the Kimmel Center at commencement next week!