Working Adults Realize Lifelong Dreams by Completing Degrees

June 27, 2018

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Above, from left, business administration graduates Ashley Mole ’18, Penny Christman ’18, Emily Boucher ’18 and Michelle Artioli ’18. Below (top), IDS leadership and business graduate Rose Borgnis ’18, and (bottom, from front to back) IDS early childhood graduates Mary Beth Peck ’18, Lindsay Sayers ’18, Teva O'Rourke ’18, Rebecca Stinnard ’18 and Bethany Baer ’18.

Rose BorgnisWhen Rose Borgnis ’18, Penny Christman ’18, and Mary Beth Peck ’18 graduated with their bachelor’s degrees in May, that event was especially meaningful for them and the other students who received their diplomas as a result of enrolling in one of MCLA’s degree completion programs. After years in the workforce, this accomplishment marked the realization of a life-long dream, increased self confidence, and greater career opportunities for the years ahead.

With 30 years of work experience, and now a bachelor’s degree under her belt, Christman, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree as part of MCLA’s business administration cohort, already has started out on a new career path at General Dynamics in Pittsfield, Mass.

“The opportunity was only available to me because I have my bachelor’s,” Christman said. “The confidence I had going through the interview process was a direct result of the MCLA program and my newly minted degree.  I now have greater opportunity as I gain new experience to build my career with a national and worldwide company.”

She next plans to apply to earn her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from MCLA. Were it not for MCLA’s degree completion program, “I would still be stagnantly in a ‘job,’” Christman explained. “I enjoyed the work I did, but had no potential for upward movement. I now feel like I have an opportunity to build a career. MCLA’s program was a perfect fit for me.”

According to Barbara Emanuel, director of graduate and continuing education, MCLA’s degree completion programs create multiple opportunities. “It’s an accelerated program where we offer credit for work and life experience,” she explained. “They take one class at a time and two classes each semester, and can finish in just over two years.”

Over the past 20 years, Rose Borgnis ’18 – who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on leadership and business – had tried several times to finish her degree. “But something would always happen. ... I had given up.”

Cohort line upHowever, MCLA’s degree completion program made it easy, Borgnis said, with classes offered one night a week in a program that moved her along the path to graduation quickly. “I would highly recommend this program. ... The professors understand the experiences adult students bring to the mix,” and consider the other responsibilities students in the degree completion program have, such as family and a job. 

Mary Beth Peck ’18 – part of the early childhood cohort that earned their Bachelor of Arts degrees in interdisciplinary studies, with a focus on children, families and society – said, “I feel my degree has earned me more respect from my peers. It has also given me more self confidence and a sense of pride.”

Peck continued, “I would definitely recommend the continuing education programs at MCLA to others.  It was so convenient to have the course schedule laid out ahead of time, and I was impressed with the variety of classes. I was academically challenged each and every class. The seven week class schedule is a plus, and meeting one night a week for four hours also allowed me to juggle work and family.”

There still is time to apply for the fall semester. MCLA also offers a fourth degree completion option that just began last fall; an interdisciplinary studies degree that focuses on health and human services. For more information about all of the College’s degree completion options, contact Joshua Mendel, Ed.D, director of recruitment and outreach, at 413-662-5410 or