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IU 2024 Graduate Profile: Maryann Johnson, M.S.

Maryann Johnson

When Maryann Johnson was contemplating returning to college to earn a master’s degree, she participated in a virtual interview with David Parkyn, Ph.D., associate faculty of Immaculata’s Master of Science in Higher Education. During the interview, he asked Johnson when she wanted to start her studies. At that point, she was just “poking around” and wasn’t even considering starting classes until the following semester. But when Parkyn explained that the next cohort started in two weeks and asked her if there was any benefit in waiting, she decided to begin her program sooner rather than later.

As she nears the end of her educational journey, Johnson isn’t positive that she would have enrolled had she waited a semester. She admits wondering at the time if she was ready to go back to college. She was working full time and busy raising her 18-year-old daughter, Olivia. “I always put others first, but I always wanted to further my education, so I hit submit,” she said. With that application submission, she, along with four other students became the first cohort of Immaculata’s new hybrid master’s in higher education, which launched in fall 2022 with a competitive tuition of $15,000 for the entire program, which equates to $500 per credit.

As it turned out, Parkyn was Johnson’s first professor at Immaculata. His support proved invaluable. Despite the challenges and workload, Johnson found the program manageable, aided by a blend of synchronous and asynchronous classes accommodating her demanding schedule.

While earning her master’s degree, Johnson also continued to serve as the full-time executive director of Lansdale School of Business, where she has worked in admissions, academics and student services for several decades. Since Lansdale School of Business is a small school of 150 students, Johnson “does it all” as she oversees diversity and equity issues and is the Title IX coordinator in addition to many other roles. She was surprised—and interested—to learn in her higher ed classes about the various offices that many larger colleges and universities support. She appreciated the opportunity to glean ideas from her teachers and peers that she could implement at her school.

“The program is very solid with a diverse group of classes and provides a beneficial overview of the administrative side of higher education,” Johnson stated.

When it was time to graduate, Johnson contemplated whether she would attend her commencement ceremony. Olivia, who is pursuing a nursing degree at DeSales, emphatically stated to her mom, “Oh no, you are going to your graduation.” Again, Johnson needed that nudge. “I am glad she said that, because I probably would have said, ‘Just send it in the mail,’” she added.

Looking ahead, Johnson plans to pursue certification in online instruction, recognizing the growing significance of online learning across all educational levels.

For anyone considering returning to college, Johnson acknowledges that they may need a nudge, but she advises them to jump in and swim! For her, starting and finishing her degree were both exciting milestones, but she realizes it was the journey that taught her a lot about herself. “I am much stronger than I realized,” she concluded.

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