Elizabeth Owens is a transplant research supervisor in the heart and lung transplant and pulmonary section at Baylor Research Institute – Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.  She is a graduate school student finishing her final project at the University of Texas at Arlington in healthcare administration.

(Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Owens)

(Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Owens)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“Management positions in healthcare can be very competitive, especially without a nursing background. I had seven years of experience in clinical research when I entered the MS HCAD program at UTA. I was promoted to a supervisor position after one year in the program. Although my main motivation was career development, I have a passion for learning and will likely continue my education, after taking a break.”

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

“I recommend doing research to assess your career path and what educational track can help you achieve your goals. Also, I sought mentors that currently had positions that I was interested in pursuing, and I found this very helpful. Be ready to let go of somethings in your life to have the time to dedicate to your education and get the most out the program you choose. It will be worth it.”

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

“I am very fortunate that my family, employer and friends have been extremely supportive. Baylor has a tuition reimbursement program which helped with the financial challenge, and my husband helped pick up the slack at home. My biggest challenge was finding balance between life, school and work. I attended class two evenings per week, and most evenings that I was not in class, I was working on projects for school or work.”

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

“There were moments when I didn’t know how I was going to fit everything into my day. I don’t think those days stop; I am just better equipped to handle them now. Successfully making it through the challenging times was the very rewarding. I found that I had more to give than I realized. Having a master’s degree has helped me to obtain my current role. In this role, I am able to help staff members align their career goals, and increasing the capacity that I am able to help others is my biggest reward.”

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