Traci Newman, M.Ed.
"My biggest takeaway from the program was the fact that I felt supported throughout the journey from the professors and Instructional Associates."
Job Title and School District:
Dyslexia Therapist, Temple ISD
How did you hear about the online degree programs at Lamar University?
An online specialist visited our campus to talk to teachers interested in furthering their education.
How has this degree affected your professional outlook? What about personally?
Professionally, I am now equipped with the credentials necessary for a career change and/or advancement. More doors are beginning to open in areas I have never considered pursuing.
Personally, I have achieved a goal I never thought I could accomplish. I am the first female on either side of my family to obtain a master's degree, and the online degree option allowed for that opportunity.
What was your single biggest takeaway from the program?
My biggest takeaway from the program was the fact that I felt supported throughout the journey from the professors and Instructional Associates. As an older student, I was worried that I would not be able to keep up with the technology or workload. However, with each course, the professors extended their assistance through email accessibility and weekly live webinars. If I had questions about anything, I was always able to find assistance.
How much time per week did you spend on your studies?
Describe how having an online option made a degree more accessible for you.
The online option was, quite frankly, my only avenue for completing an advanced degree due to having a family and day-to-day life. I cannot express how grateful I am to Lamar University for developing such an impressive curriculum that is current and relevant to today's challenging public education system!
What was one of the biggest challenges during the program, and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges during the program was continued self-discipline to work EVERY day on the required curriculum. Sometimes that meant family events were missed or cut short, but those are the sacrifices you have to be willing to make.
Why did you choose to earn your advanced degree from Lamar University?
The time-frame (18 months) and the fact that the classes were completely online were the selling points for choosing Lamar. In addition, the reviews from former students were encouraging.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is considering this program?
If you're committed and dedicated to setting and achieving this goal, then stop second-guessing yourself, and do it. Just know it is a program designed by professionals for professionals and should be respected as such.
What helped you get through the program the most? What helped you make it to the finish line?
On the days when I thought I couldn't give any more, my family would say or do something to encourage me. My youngest son, who had just graduated from high school, commented several times of how hard I worked. We would have conversations about when you want something bad enough, you work hard to get it; it was rewarding to lead by example. There were also many self-conversations stating, "This time next year you'll be done. Just keep going!"
Describe your family's thoughts and feelings about you earning your degree.
My family was my rock throughout this journey. I was encouraged every step of the way. My husband basically lost his partner for 18 months, but he never complained. He left me encouraging notes, and ate many bowls of cereal for supper. My mother, who was 74 at the time, bragged to her Sunday school class that her daughter was earning her master's. "She's the first female to earn a master's degree. Her father would be so proud!" Lots of tears and happiness on graduation day!
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would commit to being better organized. The week we had off, following a 5-week course, was a highlight of freedom! Although I craved the down-time, I wished I had better used it for the action research.