Member of the Virginia Air National Guard and Master of Science (MS) in Project Management student Lisa Williams takes being a non-traditional student to new heights. “I’m a mom, program analyst, National Air Guard service member and student,” Lisa noted. “Somehow, I still make time for myself. Of course, there are some late nights too. Honestly, I don’t know how I do it, but I do. There’s a lot of fussing at myself too, about why I decided to go back to school, but ultimately, I have goals.”
Lisa attended Georgia State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science in Professional Counseling. However, “thanks to life’s curve-balls and other ideas,” she is in a completely different field and going back for her second master’s degree.
“I started my journey after high school thinking I'd be a counselor,” explained Lisa. “I graduated into a recession and finding work that paid a livable wage, plus student loans, wasn't panning out as fast as I needed it to. I ended up joining the Navy and they paid off my student loan debt and put me in a job as a computer network technician. Though I've veered pretty far from the field, I think my educational background has served as a concrete foundation—especially when you look at some of the competencies required of project managers that can be applied across projects and further, the rise in acknowledging the importance of developing soft skills in almost any industry.”
Lisa is currently working for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a program analyst, a position she was recently promoted to when she made the decision to pursue her second master’s degree, the MS in Project Management.
“Since starting the program, so many more things like processes and approaches make more sense,” said Williams. “I’m able to apply some of the things I’ve learned and I’m able to recognize how different functions and roles fit into the bigger picture. For every class I’ve taken, I’ve been able to see a real-world example in action.”
Though the MS in Project Management was Lisa's first experience with online learning, the accommodating nature of Drexel made for a seamless transition. She also credits the program with bettering her communication skills and giving her newfound ability to work in virtual teams. Lisa has been able to translate those skills into her day-to-day operations in her field.
“Every class has required me to work in a group and everybody is so different,” Lisa notes. “Project challenges change so greatly based on the team alone. Also, I recognize that everyone is at different points in their academic and professional careers and it drives their approaches to assignments. I know this translates into real-world applications and practicing navigating that now will serve me well, no doubt!”