Wednesday, January 8, 2020

From Criminology to Business – Meet Erica Walker

Growing up, Erica Walker thought her education and career would eventually lead to becoming a judge. After earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology, Erica quickly realized this was not the path for her. Holding two degrees with little flexibility, Erica decided in order to really advance her career and future, she would need to return to school.

In 2017, Erica met Steve Bird, Peirce’s Director of Strategic Partnerships & Corporate Enrollment at an event with her former employer. She learned of Peirce’s online options, flexibility, tuition discount for corporate partner employees, and the focus on adult learners. Erica was sold.

“When I was deciding to return to school, I was a mom of a toddler looking for the option to take classes online in a flexible way that matched my needs,” said Erica. “Steve explained how Peirce had all of that and invited me to an open house on campus to learn more. That is where my decision was made.”

Erica soon met alumni and fellow classmates who spoke highly about the Peirce College family environment and Erica was hooked. She enrolled in Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management (MSOLM) program in Fall 2017.

Choosing this program was easy for Erica because she was looking for a broader program that was business-centric with leadership ties. Erica said, “The MSOLM program at Peirce offered me entrepreneurial experience, public speaking classes, unique industry information, valuable leadership skills and more. I knew this degree could benefit me for what I saw in my future.”

During her time in the program, Erica gained more than she ever anticipated. “Peirce was the best experience of my life. From the classmates to my professors, I gained lifelong friends and knowledge I could not have received anywhere else. Every book I picked up taught me something new; every discussion I did educated me more; and every piece of coursework was more intriguing than the last.”

As a working mom, Erica did choose to take all her courses online and that was exactly what Erica needed. She said, “Having the option to be online granted me the balance I needed as a working mom and student. I was never overwhelmed. Peirce knows we work, we have family, etc. They have the courses set up in a way where you can get it done and done well.”

Even as an online student, Erica felt the family environment she was sold on from the beginning. “I know it is cliché to say, but Peirce really is a family. I wasn’t sure I believed it at first, but I am here to say it is absolutely true. Everyone wants you to be successful; everyone wants to make sure you reach the finish line; and everyone is always available to support you.”

In June 2019, Erica proudly transitioned from a Peirce student to a Peirce alumna as she officially earned her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management. She explained how this would not have been possible without her true inspiration – her daughter. “My daughter is young, but she watches me and understands. She is now in Kindergarten and comes home eager to do her homework to, ‘act like mommy.’ Motivating her to love school inspired me!”

Beyond motivating her daughter and achieving a second graduate degree, Erica landed a phenomenal position as the Director of Admissions and Outreach for Job Corps. Erica never imagined she would have had the opportunity to land this type of career. She said, “My new degree got me my new job. It opened doors for me that weren’t available to me prior to graduation.”

Congratulations to Erica on all of her accomplishments! Peirce is proud to have such inspirational alumna telling the Peirce story to the community.