Written by Russell Stahlke, a student in the Ed.D. program – guest writer I once...READ MORE
A second career, a new degree and a bright future
Many people work their entire careers dreaming of retiring, but not Melissa Hanson. After a successful 30-year career in state service, she decided to go back to school to learn how to apply her natural talents to a whole new profession.
Discovering a love for adult education
“I have been a trainer for all my career… I’d like to pursue a second career as a teacher or professor where I can make a difference in people’s lives,” Melissa said. “I like seeing when the light goes on and people make the connection; you can tell they’re comprehending and putting it together. That’s the best I can see – making someone else’s life better.”
Melissa first discovered her teaching skills when training colleagues in the prison system.
“I teach CPR, tactical verbal skills and hostage negotiations, and I found I have a knack for it,” Melissa said. “In criminal justice, those can be lifesaving skills. It’s so meaningful to make a difference, to see a young person at the beginning of their career and be able to share my experience. There is no greater purpose than teaching the next generation what you’ve learned so they can benefit from your knowledge and experience. This degree will enable me to be in a better position to help people.”
Finishing a degree and starting new journey
Melissa is graduating in June 2017 with a Master of Education in Adult Education, and will be the first person in her family to earn a graduate degree.
“I’m a 47-year-old single mom and I come from generations of farm workers and migrant farm workers, and I’m the first one to graduate from college,” Melissa said. “When I completed my bachelor’s degree, I was the class speaker, and it was so moving for me that I decided to keep going. My son, Daniel, is 15 and this has been such an inspiration for him that now he wants to go to CityU.”
Melissa first began studying at CityU after transferring from another university where she’d had a less than ideal experience.
“I initially thought that CityU was a community college, and then realized it has so much more to offer,” Melissa said. “It has connections and ties to the community I live in, which is important to me. When I looked at the programs, I saw they are more geared for working adults, and I looked at the website and comments from current CityU students and could tell it is a college you can stick with and be proud of. I could also tell there is a closer community between faculty and students. I wanted to be a part of something I could be proud of.”
Now that she’s graduating and moving forward into her new career, Melissa is thankful for the experience she’s had at CityU.
“CityU has given me confidence, relevance, a knowledge base, and a resource that I can pull from,” Melissa said. “The contacts I’ve made with fellow students will continue into my future. I think any potential student would find it to be an absolutely amazing experience.”
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