NAME: Leana Bowman ’17
TITLE BEFORE MY DEGREE: Grant Coordinator, Santa Barbara City College
TITLE AFTER MY DEGREE: Director of Institutional Grants, Allan Hancock College
MY MOTIVATION: It all started 3 years ago with an invitation to apply for a job at another college. I applied, but I didn’t even get an interview because I didn’t have a degree. I got my associate degree in 2015 and that turned into, “Well, I might as well get my bachelor’s.” I earned that in 2016 from Capella University, and by that time, I thought I would really like to teach, so that led to my master’s.
JUMPING IN FAST: Two months after Walden conferred my master’s degree, I was hired to teach online in the Johns Hopkins Certificate in Nonprofit Management program. My MBA put that opportunity within my reach because the interviewer liked my teaching philosophy about online learning, which was formed from my Tempo Learning® experience.
A STEP UP: Soon after that, I was offered a management-level position at Allan Hancock College. It’s a huge change in culture and responsibility. I was previously classified as staff. Now I’m in the upper echelon of administration at the college. I could become a dean or a VP because of this job. The sky’s the limit, and I’m waiting to see what opportunities are going to present themselves.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT: As a grant writer, I can only write so many grants or, to use a metaphor, throw so many pebbles into a pond. But every time I teach one of my grant-writing classes at Cuesta College and those students go out and start grant writing, they’re throwing pebbles, too. That’s how I expand my reach beyond what I can do myself—by teaching and empowering other people.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE: I went back to school at 51 years old. That was part of my worry. I have about 10 years until retirement, so I couldn’t go to a traditional school and finish at, what, 57? Online programs—self-paced ones, such as Tempo Learning® by Walden, in particular—really make it possible for anybody to go back to school. I earned my MBA in 7 months because I just held my nose and jumped in the deep end and kept plugging away.