Dear Dr. Long,
Thank you for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to provide an update on where my University of Oklahoma education has taken me. I graduated in 2009 with a Masters in Human Relations after having completed the program at a satellite campus on an overseas American naval base. While I recognized even during the program that I had learned much, matured as a person and grown academically, I continue to see the benefits years later.
In 2010, my graduate degree from OU gave me the opportunity to be considered for a leadership position at a military medical center. I had focused much of my studies on counseling and psychology and this helped me tremendously to understand the care offered in the mental health unit I oversaw. The coursework in human resources allowed me to be a more effective manager and influential leader.
In 2012, I was selected for a military promotion. My supervisors agreed that having a graduate degree was an important factor in that promotion. At the time, less than a third of my contemporaries at the same rank had a graduate degree.
Later, I completed a Master of Arts in International Relations. My background in culture and communication studies with my MHR from OU gave me a strong advantage and I found myself having a more sophisticated grasp on the material in the IR program because of my Human Relations background. One of my professors even recommended that I pursue a PhD in Communication Studies or a related field because she believed that my academic background had readied me for this.
In 2016, I graduated from the University of San Diego with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree on a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track. My OU education served me very well in a number of ways. I credit my MHR with making me a competitive candidate for this doctoral program and assisting me with being selected. However, during the course of my time in the program, I also found myself being a resource to my classmates on a host of subjects to which I had exposure during my time at OU (to include statistics and research design). My professors at USD noted that I wrote well, that I was a strong critical thinker and that they could see the evidence of previous graduate preparation in every area of my academic work. When it was time for my clinical capstone project, I found that the work I had done in my HR internship resembled my capstone to some degree and provided me with the tools and perspectives to make that project at USD more powerful. The preparation in counseling I received from the coursework I had selected for my MHR gave me an advantage in the counseling and therapy preparation while at USD. This made me a more astute clinician. My preceptors would consistently praise my skill and knowledge in counseling and therapy situations. While my MHR had not expanded my licensing, I could have pursued a counseling certification with some more coursework and internship hours in Oklahoma. Nevertheless, with the licensing I have achieved now, I am a more effective therapist because of the learning and experiences I had with OU professors and coursework.
As you can see, my OU degree has opened many doors for me. I am extremely grateful for what I learned and how I grew during my time in my MHR program. Even if I had not been granted an in-state tuition discount, the program would have been more than worth it. But having received that discount as a military member made the value of what I gained in the program tremendous. I consider the academic and life preparation I received from my MHR degree essential to the success I have achieved as a person, leader and clinician.
My advice to your future students is this: you will get out of this what you put into it. Work hard, do the reading, soak up what the professors teach you, make the most of every opportunity and there is no telling where this degree may take you.
I thank you again for this opportunity to express my gratitude to the school and to demonstrate how far a Master of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma has brought me.
Dr. John A. Hoyos,
Posted on Wed, September 14, 2016
by Stacy Smith