Micaela Herndon is the Senior Manager of Grant Projects for the Dallas County Community College District. She is responsible for coordination, development, scheduling and evaluation of project activities to ensure that grant objectives and time-lines are met. Without Herndon’s expertise in grant management, many of the educational programs offered at the District’s Mountain View College would not be funded. Herndon earned a master’s degree in post secondary and adult education from Capella University.

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I knew I would automatically pursue a master’s degree for professional and personal reasons. Many of the leadership positions that caught my eye required an M.B.A. or master’s in a related field. I wanted to make myself as marketable as possible and gain a higher level of knowledge in my field of study.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree?

“Before you select a school and field of study, have a plan. With the modern changes in education, there is a school that can fit anyone. There are online and traditional universities, hybrid courses, and even flex path opportunities. Some necessary components to consider are:

  • Is this field of study viable in today’s market or will it become viable within 3 – 5 years?
  • How much time can you dedicate to school requirements?
  • How much are you willing to invest financially in tuition?
  • Will you need family support?
  • Can you balance life, school and your current job workload?”

What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master’s degree?

“Time management. Depending on the course, the intensity of the content can change. At the beginning of my courses, I didn’t have a routine, so I found myself spending more time catching up. By scheduling time five days a week to work on my assignments and discussions, I was able to handle chaos or extra assignments as they came.”

What was the biggest reward for earning the master’s degree?

“I had the added knowledge to apply to situations in my work environment. There are multiple times when I think of a case study or theory that applies to a situation or challenge in the workplace. I am also able to use my degree as leverage when applying for positions that require a bachelor’s degree with certain years of experience. Often, I can substitute education for work experience.”

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com