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Alumni Success

Utilized Master’s Accelerated Plan (MAP) to Gain Advanced Standing in MA in Forensic Psychology Program

Melissa Mckinney
2014, Associate of Science, Business Administration, Argosy University, Online Programs
2016, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Argosy University, Online Programs
Operations Coordinator, Jokake Construction Services

“It speaks volumes about a school and its people when a student is involved in an online setting—with no in-person interaction involved—and they feel welcomed and at ease. It truly is an amazing school.”

Melissa Mckinney is the operations coordinator at Jokake Construction Services in Phoenix, Arizona—it’s a position that she says is the first step on her career path. Melissa has been with the company for ten years, working while pursuing her higher education. “[The company] provided support for my desire to grow while also earning my degrees.”

Her job responsibilities include assisting the field staff with all duties, from technology to communications issues. “I am very passionate about continued education, so I help to manage training and certification classes as well. I also assist the general superintendent and vice president of operations.” Jokake Construction Services is a full service general contractor serving the southwest. “The company was ranked #17 in Phoenix Business Journal’s 2016 ‘Best Places to Work,’” Melissa proudly adds. “My success equates to the success of all of my business partners. I have learned a lot from the people I work with and they have watched me grow over the past ten years.”

Melissa admits that her academic career got off to a rocky to start. She dropped out of school once—just a few credits short of completing her Associate’s degree. A year later, with the help of her admissions representative from Argosy University, Online Programs, she decided to return to school and finish her degree. “When I [was getting closer to] graduation, I decided to take a leap and immediately go into the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program. It was in that program that I began to shine.” During her Bachelor’s degree program, Melissa participated in Argosy University’s Master’s Accelerated Plan (MAP), which allowed her to take select graduate-level courses. These classes counted toward the completion of her Bachelor’s degree and enabled her to gain advanced standing as she works toward a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology at Argosy University, Online Programs.

While in MAP, Melissa learned from experienced* graduate-level faculty while she was still an undergraduate. The experience gave her a hands-on view of what it’s like to be in a Master’s level program and also provided networking opportunities and the chance to learn from guest speakers. Melissa adds that her academic accomplishments led to scholarships and an increased sense of confidence and independence.

Because she went to school while working full time, Melissa understands that commitment is the key to success. “Do not get complacent. Remain humble, recognize your accomplishments, and celebrate them. Continuing your education at the college level can be difficult, but do not give up and do not be afraid to ask questions.” Melissa chose Argosy University, Online Programs because of the convenience of online learning—but also because she found the school and faculty to be honest, reputable, reliable, and accountable. She adds that because of her propensity to get distracted while in a traditional classroom, she needed to enroll in an online program. “Having the freedom to decide when I wanted to apply myself at school was a terrifying idea. But I surprised myself and really re-trained myself to make it work.”

Today, Melissa sees herself as a totally different person than she was when she started her education. “My whole attitude, personality, and value system has changed. I used to hold everyone above me. I [now] know that I am important and destined for greatness. I am deserving because I put my mind to it and worked really hard. I am becoming the woman I was meant to be.”

She cites the ongoing support of her admissions representative as being critical to her success at Argosy University, Online Programs. “She is familiar [with my situation] and can relate to almost every issue I throw her way. I guess you could say she is the reason I stayed. And I know other students that feel the same about their Argosy [support] team.”

Melissa strongly advocates the value of an online education to others who are seeking to grow academically and professionally. “It speaks volumes about a school and its people when a student is involved in an online setting—with no in-person interaction involved—and they feel welcomed and at ease. It truly is an amazing school.”

In addition to her career, Melissa volunteers at local nonprofit organizations including Feed My Starving Children and the United Way. She takes pride in helping to provide food to children so that they can be at their best during the school day. “I am also an avid animal lover and support animal charities as well.”

Melissa holds two degrees from Argosy University, Online Programs. In 2014, she earned an Associate of Science in Business Administration and in 2016, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She says that her education provided the educational and networking platform that prepared her to advance in her career. And she hopes to do just that. Once she completes her Master’s degree, she hopes to continue working at her current company—in a bigger and higher-level role.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.