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An Interview with Doctoral Student Jessica Hance
The following is an interview with Jessica Hance a student in the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle. She is pursing a doctoral degree in leadership with a concentration in higher education.
Tell us about yourself! What’s your background? Where did you grow up?
I am a former middle school science teacher turned accountant working for the University of Texas at Arlington. The program I work for helps math and science teachers get secondary teacher certification. I have a MBA and MS Leadership from Grand Canyon University, which has helped me pursue business and leadership opportunities. I grew up in a small town in South Carolina, lived in 12 states with the longest in Florida for 10 years, and currently live in TX near the Cowboys stadium although I’m a country girl at heart.
What has your experience at CityU been like so far? What made you select CityU?
My CityU experience has been phenomenal so far! I heard about CityU’s Leadership program through an advisor who highly recommended CityU when I informed her of my interest to pursue a doctorate. She explained how the faculty walk you through the program and help you make sure you are prepared writing and defending your dissertation. I am so glad I listened to her because, out of the all the schools I attended, CityU has most exceeded my expectations.
Was your degree something you felt you needed in order to take a professional step forward?
I work at a university and know that higher education is my calling. I also realize the value of a doctoral degree to colleagues, which will eventually help me pursue higher level positions. So yes, I would say this is imperative in order to move forward, especially in the field of higher education.
You wrote to Dr. Flores that you felt her feedback was very helpful. What other resources or staff members have helped you with your class?
Dr. Flores has been amazing so far and I cannot believe how much feedback she gives to a very large class on top of her other obligations as Dean! Wow! She is my 5th professor so far and I must say, each person has treated me as if I’m the most important student! Dr. Lahore was my first official class and while she drilled APA really hard, I was pushed like never before. I appreciated her quick responses via email or the forum, which helped me become even better at using APA. I personally am glad that class was offered at the very beginning! I also really enjoy Dr. Rankin! He does a lot of webinars and videos, which I find very helpful. My enrollment counselor, Bob Martin, is constantly checking up on me to make sure everything is ok. I love that I have so many people that care. I’m not just a number!
What challenges have you faced balancing your work, classes and other obligations?
Working 40 hours a week and taking two classes concurrently certainly has its challenges. There are some days I’m lucky if I get to sit down and do anything school-wise. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work on the weekends in order to get everything completed, but it is challenging to balance your relaxation time with work time. Thankfully, I don’t have children but I do have two cats who act like children, especially when I do sit down on my computer and they decide that would be a great time to sit on my keyboard!
What are your plans after your graduate?
Truthfully, ever since I’ve been at CityU, I have been so thrilled with the level of professionalism and expertise; I could see myself working here. I can tell CityU isn’t all about keeping with the status quo, which I’ve seen ruin many education systems. That said, I definitely see myself in a leadership role that impacts students. Even in my current position, I have become known as a person people are comfortable talking to, which I believe will be an asset to any leadership role.
Do you have any advice for other students who might be traveling the same path as you?
My advice is to not procrastinate! I’m the queen of procrastination but I’ve learned that if you want to be successful, you have to look ahead and plan. It’s easy to procrastinate after a long day of work when you might feel exhausted and the last thing you want to do is more work. I’ve recently been walking after work each day and I find it clears my head and re-energizes me. This has helped combat the feeling of exhaustion and I would highly recommend including some form of daily exercise no matter how busy you are. It’ll help you in the long run.
What are you passionate about?
This is an open-ended question for me. I’m passionate about a lot of things. I’m passionate about doing the right thing, even behind closed doors. I’m passionate about ensuring what I say matches what I do. I’m passionate about allowing others to freely express their opinion/feelings without passing judgment. I’m passionate about leaving things in a better condition than when I found them. These are just a few.
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