“When I initially enrolled at Walden, I wanted to further my education and develop as a leader,” says Dr. Chastity R. Williams-Lasley ’12, a Doctor of Education (EdD) alumna. “Now, I want to contribute to social change to apply what I’ve learned and give back as a scholar.”
As an education consultant who established Scholars For Change™, she specializes in coaching and mentoring doctoral candidates. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., and plans to center her career and life on effecting social change both in her full-time work as an education research scientist and as a volunteer.
Look for mentors and mentees. “It became a passion of mine to help other students,” Dr. Williams-Lasley explains. “You build a community through your coursework. I started posting how I had done the work when students asked about it, and faculty members asked me to share as much as I liked. I started peer-to-peer coaching, and it was personally and professionally rewarding.”
Take advantage of all the resources at residencies. “I went to four residencies; I was only required to go to one,” she says. After attending the first, she realized she could speak to representatives from the Writing Center, the library, and, most importantly, her faculty members, face to face. Residencies gave her the opportunity to focus her goals, work on her prospectus, her proposal, and, finally, her doctoral study—one piece at a time.
Leverage the Writing Center’s services. “When I submitted a paper to the Writing Center, it was returned with great suggestions concerning grammar, APA style, transitions, and organizational flow,” Dr. Williams-Lasley says. “My writing style changed, and I grew as a writer.”
Partner with your faculty members. “One of my faculty members was available to help me long after the course he taught was complete,” she says. “When I was working on my qualitative study, he was there to help me. Each one of my professors had the same attitude. I never felt like there was a question I couldn’t ask. That helped me develop the confidence I have now.”
Dr. Williams-Lasley’s education at Walden also created new professional opportunities. She was invited to speak at a residency in Sterling, Va., a few months ago and recently became a Walden Ambassador to share her experiences with prospective students. “Walden transformed the way I learn and the way I teach,” she says. “For me, the value I received through my education was far greater than I imagined.”