Current Student Spotlight | Mike Lawley

Mike could be referred to as a non-traditional student. He is a full-time single parent and graphic artist, who is re-entering the classroom nearly 30 years after receiving his BS in Marketing in 1987. With a solid foundation in Marketing Communications as a creative, he decided it was time to hone is writing skills and formalize his on-the-job experience with a graduate degree.

“When I decided to go back to school I was met with some skepticism from friends and colleagues.

‘Why a graduate degree at this stage of your life? Why professional writing? You have over 25 years in your field! You have been adapting right along with your profession. You learned on-the-job as paste-up moved to the desktop and direct mail moved to e-mail. How does this fit in with your current career path?’

“The last question, ‘How does this fit in with your current career path?’ was the easiest to explain. It doesn’t fit with my current career path. I am looking for a program that will enrich my skill set, broaden my capabilities, and prepare me for new career pathways. All the while, allowing me to continue to grow in my current position. I found that and more with the MPW program at Chatham.

“As I approach my last semester, growing professionally is exactly what I have done with this journey. I have had the opportunity to learn new practices, to realize my current skills are also strong, and most importantly, a chance to learn with professionals from many different backgrounds while providing real world examples from my career.”

With two courses remaining, Mike is realizing his dream of a graduate degree in a classroom that has changed dramatically from the brick and mortar days at IUP.

“Online class was something to get used to in a way. No face-to-face discussion and a lot of the learning felt like self-study. Soon though, relationships developed with classmates as we were lucky enough to all be starting about the same time and shared many classes together.

“If I were to offer any advice to incoming students to the program it would be to build relationships with your fellow students just as you would if you were physically sitting side-by-side. My group was very strong and successful when were had the opportunity to share a class and work together.”

Home: Pittsburgh, PA
Program: Master of Professional Writing

You are welcome to connect with Mike on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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