Ronessa Strickland-Roberts explains how what she’s learned at Walden has put her in a position to launch a nonprofit.

Ronessa Strickland-Roberts

Ronessa Strickland-Roberts. Photo credit: Focus Studios.

DEGREE EARNED: Master of Public Health (MPH)

CURRENT PROGRAM: PhD in Public Health

HOW I PAID FOR IT: Student loans and full-time positions at the Orange County Health Department and Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando.


WHAT ELSE I’VE DONE AT THE SAME TIME: I’m currently a program manager at Planned Parenthood. I also started my own nonprofit, Inspiration and Change Inc., in January 2011 to provide education and services that take a holistic approach to poverty and health disparities in my community.

HOW I FOUND TIME TO STUDY: I do my coursework very late at night. Fortunately, I’m a night person, but I definitely don’t get a lot of sleep. I also take full advantage of technology. I have an iPhone and an iPad, and they allow me to do schoolwork while I’m away from home. Technology is my biggest lifesaver.

HOW MY FAMILY HELPS: My mom lives three hours away and comes to help out a lot, and my kids understand why I’m doing this. I have a 14-year-old and a 21-year-old. It’s hard when you don’t have time to do the things you want to do with your family, but they understand I won’t be in school forever.

MOST CHALLENGING PART: The time commitment is always a challenge. But if I say I’m going to do something, I do it.

WHAT KEEPS ME MOTIVATED: I had my daughter when I was 15. I want my children to have more opportunities. I realized I had to lead by example, which made me more determined in my own career. I always knew I wanted to keep people healthy. My degrees are part of my goals. I plan to be involved in research, so a Ph.D. will give me much more credibility; people will see I’ve met a high standard.

HIGHEST POINT: I really enjoyed the residencies and meeting the faculty. A lot of them are in Florida, so I’ve been in touch with them since.

BIGGEST CHANGE IN MY LIFE SINCE GETTING MY DEGREE: My degree has helped me help others. I’m doing interventions with teenage girls to prevent pregnancy and STDs. This is a direct result of getting my master’s degree from Walden. Also, I’d always dreamed of starting my nonprofit, but I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared; I have the confidence to do it now. Passions are great, but you need a foundation of knowledge and a plan to make an impact.

MY NEXT BIG CHALLENGE: Finding the time for my dissertation! I’m writing it on trauma and HIV acquisition. I hope it will help health departments and clinics understand what they can do to be effective. The more I learn, the better the services I can provide for my community.

Tell us how you did it at

Man sitting at latop
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Talk to your personal enrollment advisor for more information today. Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
Talk to your personal enrollment advisor for more information today. Please use our Domestic Form if you live in the U.S.
*Required Field
Academic Interests
Contact Information
Invalid email address
Please provide a valid phone number
Please provide a valid zipcode
Additional Information
Get Started

By submitting this form, I understand and agree that Walden University may contact me via email, text, telephone, and prerecorded message regarding furthering my education and that calls may be generated using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our privacy policy or contact us for more details.


By checking this box, I agree that Walden University may contact me by email, text message, autodialed telephone call, and prerecorded message at the contact information provided above regarding opportunities and offers to further my education. I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time and that my consent is not a condition of any purchase. I have received the Walden University Privacy Policy