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Student Profile: Emerald Lopez, Doctor of Education in Leadership
As a working mom who had already finished one master’s degree, Emerald Lopez thought that she would never go back to school. She was in the midst of accelerating her career in organizational leadership in the retail industry when she realized she wanted to continue her education. Emerald talked with about her experience of getting her Doctorate of Education in Leadership in the School of Applied Leadership and her love for learning and shaping future leaders.
City University of Seattle (CU): Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What did you do before enrolling at CityU?
Emerald Lopez (EL): Prior to enrolling at CityU, I was growing my career in organizational leadership in the retail industry. From the time I was very young, I was attracted to entrepreneurship and business leadership. Although I got my M.A. in International Relations, I worked my way through Grad School in the retail industry, and loved every minute of it. I am a firm believer you need to do what you love. After getting my M.A., I thought I would never go back to school. When I saw the opportunity to continue to develop and learn, while still maintaining my current status in my profession, I was immediately intrigued by the option. I love to learn. I love to be challenged. I love personal development.
CU: What made you decide to enroll at CityU?
EL: I decided to enroll at CityU because it was flexible. I work long hours, sometimes unpredictable ones, and needed to be able to succeed in an environment where I was still in control of my schedule. As a Senior Manager and mom of two young children, CityU provides the flexibility that I need. It also provides the engagement, variety, and quality of education I was looking for. There is no compromise on the education. It is hard work and I study late nights and early mornings at times, but it’s been extremely gratifying to be the “entrepreneur” of my education. It is very empowering.
CU: What was your experience in like in the School of Applied Leadership (SAL)?
EL: My experience in the School of Applied Leadership has been exciting. I have loved learning from other members of the cohort and a diverse staff of professors. There have been numerous folks on staff that have reached out to provide support, guidance, and words of encouragement!
CU: Do you have an exceptionally memorable moment from your time in the program?
EL: My most memorable moment in the program so far was coming together with fellow students for Residency. While we get to communicate frequently in a virtual environment, there is so much power in coming together, face-to-face with our learning community. It has really enriched the learning and the educational experience overall.
CU: Have you been able to apply what you’ve learned at CityU directly into the workplace?
EL: I apply my learning every day. It’s become part of who I am and shapes the leader that I will continue to become. The learning we do is active and extremely applicable. All of the content promotes self-reflection and real-life application, and I am truly a better, more well-rounded leader with the completion of each course.
CU: What are your plans after you graduate?
EL: After I graduate, I plan to continue on the leadership journey. I would love to be able to continue to develop leaders and have a legacy of helping others reach their full potential. I think we have an obligation to pay it forward. I’m not sure that graduation marks the beginning of something entirely new, but I am one hundred percent certain it opens up more doors to leverage my strengths and learning to serve those around me.
CU: Do you have any advice for students considering enrolling in SAL?
EL: For those considering enrollment in the School of Applied Leadership, my advice is to take the time to invest in yourself and your learning. You can go at your own pace, and chart your course as you best see fit. Sometimes my course load is heavier, and other times, I have to adjust to meet the needs of my job and my family. The time has flown by! The staff in this program are truly concerned with ensuring your success to the end and as such, the feedback is designed to ensure you are prepared for your dissertation and developing in your research and writing skills. The collaboration and feedback is robust. Take the time to ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to go for it!
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