What program did you attend at Marymount University? When did you graduate?
I attended the MA in Humanities and graduated in 2014.
What is your current job title/professional industry?
I currently work at the US Cannabis Council as their Director for Membership Relations.
What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
I worked full time and attended both undergraduate and graduate programs at Marymount. Since I graduated I worked for 15 years in undergraduate and graduate admissions, followed by working at a national higher education non-profit for another 5 years before starting my current role.
In that time I also had more kids (I was 8 months pregnant with my son when I defended my Master’s thesis!), moved from Arlington to Alexandria, and changed careers from working on campus with students to the non-profit space. I also went on to complete a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from the University of South Florida.
What challenges or obstacles did you face in your academic career?
Working full time while going to school was the biggest challenge. Balancing life, family, commuting, and school was never easy. I also didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my degree after I graduated, but I loved the program and professors. However, not having direct line to a career I wanted to pursue at times felt stressful because I wanted to make sure that I was able to take my knowledge and skills and still use them outside the classroom.
How did your experiences at Marymount impact your life?
I had the BEST classmates and professors. Every class was one I looked forward to because I knew we would not only have really engaging conversations, but we would just have a great time being together. I made lifelong friends as cliche as that sounds and being able to message each other at 4 AM with memes as we all pulled all-nighters to finish papers are core memories. I also had the most supportive professors who supported my being a busy mother and working full-time. They helped me value my Humanities degree as both an academic and practical program that has helped me in my career.
What do you see yourself doing in the next few years?
No idea – I think what I have loved about my journey is that I have left the possibility of switching careers open which is how I made the jump from higher education to Cannabis policy. I do want to be more intentionally connected to work that continues to uplift underrepresented communities. Maybe moving up to an Executive Director role if I decide to stay in the non-profit world.
What advice would you share with current students in your program?
To be open to how much a Humanities program can shape your world view. Studying the Humanities intentionally shows the intersection of how science, literature, technology, and the arts have impacted the world we know now and how it can continue to expand our skills. In our current world, the globalization and interconnectedness of our jobs and skills will need people who are able to see things from both the high-level view as well as determine individual needs of teams and individuals.
The critical thinking practices that one learns through research, the practical applications of being a well-rounded writer, and the ability to to approach the world holistically are invaluable skills that can translate to careers that are not limited to one particular field.
And don’t write papers at 4 AM without a good community of grad school friends who will uplift you with Ryan Gosling memes.