Graduation ceremonies are traditionally one of a mother's proudest moments. Joan Hedwall's experience at daughter Kristin McConaghy's graduation from Argosy University, Sarasota was no exception: "I had to tell everyone sitting anywhere near me that she was now my daughter, the Doctor." Kristin, now a Senior Internal Auditor at Yale New Haven Health Systems in New Haven, Connecticut, received her Doctorate of Business Administration.
But Joanne had to calm her emotions. After all, she could have been the next student called to the stage. For Joanne received her own advanced degree that day, the Education Specialist degree, which places her only one step away from receiving her doctorate in Education. She is now the Business and Technology Education Department Chair at a Connecticut High School. She is responsible for creating budgets, writing curricula, and articulating agreements with local community colleges in order to offer courses to students for college credit.
This unusual story of mother/daughter scholars began when Kristin was looking for a doctor of business administration program - one that would allow her to work and enroll in school. Kristin recalls one fateful night: "I was watching TV and a commercial came on for the University of Sarasota (now Argosy University, Sarasota). I wrote the information down, and the next day my mother called me. She had seen the same commercial."
Argosy University, Sarasota was just the right fit for Kristin's demanding schedule. "The doctorate of business administration program allowed me to move at my own pace via the Internet and also allowed for personal faculty and student interaction using the 'in residence' side of the program." Kristin was thrilled to be able to further her master's of business administration degree by receiving a doctorate of business administration. "I don't think that there are too many D.B.A.'s in my field so it gives me a 'leg up' on the competition."
Joanne says of her Argosy University, Sarasota experience, "The courses are great; the professors are top notch; the support staff is unbelievably helpful; and the students are all highly motivated." Overall, Joanne believes the most important lesson she learned is one of empowerment. "Argosy University has made me think outside of the box for what is possible for me."
Kristin and Joanne say that attending the same school made for a unique experience. They often traveled together and shared resources. Kristin helped her mother stay motivated. "I shared some of my tricks for success with her to help her stay focused. When I started the program, I wanted to be sure I finished, so I purchased a frame for my degree before I had even been accepted. When I needed a boost to get back to the schoolwork, I would look at the frame and it would help me visualize the end result."
The culmination of Joanne and Kristin's hard work and dedication was during the Argosy University, Sarasota commencement ceremonies in May. Just as Joanne was bursting with pride for her daughter, Kristin recalls finding similar difficulty in restraining her joy for her mother. "As my Mother was walking up to receive her degree, I yelled from the audience; those around me looked at me quite surprised at the volume and vehemence with which I yelled. All I could say was 'What? That's my Mom!'"