Fallon Brewington has climbed mountains during her time in the Community College Leadership distance education program, and she celebrates her achievements as she prepares to graduate with her education doctorate degree this December.
This wasn’t Brewington’s first time as part of the Wolfpack. She earned her bachelor’s degree at NC State followed by her master’s at East Carolina University.
“As a prior alumna of NC State State, it was my first and only choice,” she says. “I did not apply to any other programs.”
Brewington was drawn to one particular aspect of NC State’s Community College Leadership distance education program; it’s a cohort program offered in both the Charlotte and Raleigh areas. Thankful for flexible travel and schedule requirements, she enrolled in the summer of 2018 with the Charlotte cohort.
“The cohort style of the program allowed me to shift my job responsibilities so that I could take off on Fridays to attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays. I was also able to complete coursework and dissertation work at night, Fridays and the weekend.”
Being able to work consistently with peers helped make Brewington’s studies a valuable experience.
“Our cohort model for our program allowed for more personal relationships with peers in our program,” she says. “This gave opportunity for connecting and interacting far beyond the classroom as well as after the completion of our courses.”
Brewington made meaningful professional relationships beyond her peers as well, including with Associate Teaching Professor Michelle Bartlett.
“She has been an amazing chair, advisor, mentor, professor and friend through this entire journey,” Brewington says. “I would have never thought I was ready for the journey nor found the program that was the perfect fit had it not been for her guidance. I also would have not finished as quickly as I did without her constant support academically and even personally.”
Brewington and her peers were paired with an executive mentor through the program to guide them along the way.
“This allowed us to have a more personable relationship with Community College Presidents and gave us opportunities to visit campus, attend their meetings and attend state level meetings to engage with leaders from the entire community college system. We even got to personally meet and ask questions of Peter Hans with mentor and fellow mentees before his transition to President of the University of North Carolina System.”
Now as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills, Brewington reflects on how her work in the program complimented her career. She feels that course assignments were engaging, allowing her to incorporate her own professional experiences and better prepare her for her dissertation. Through the program, Brewington was able to complete a workforce development grant application as a class project and fulfill her professional development goals.
“I have been able to increase my knowledge on college readiness and apply this to how we serve our teen population,” she says. “It has also increased my ability and confidence in seeking funding to support those efforts by understanding needs and data supporting those needs for our youth and workforce development in our local community.”
For Brewington, the experience wasn’t always easy, but overcoming the challenges made her accomplishments even more impressive and fulfilling.
“This has been a wonderful and life-changing experience not only for me, but even my children. I was able to complete something I never imagined I would, while working full-time, going through a divorce and ultimately becoming a single mom who is raising two children,” she says. “My children were even able to watch me defend my dissertation and will be attending graduation with me. They’re able to see me accomplish something not many people can say they have even with adversity, especially being a woman of color. This was possible by the strong and intentional support provided in this unique cohort doctoral program.”
Brewington will be attending the university’s commencement ceremony as well as the College of Education’s ceremonies, and she plans to celebrate her accomplishments with her family. As she approaches graduation, she encourages others to overcome their own challenges and enroll in an online program at NC State.
“You can do it,” she says. “Online programs allow the essential flexibility to balance the demands of a career and family. The ability to complete work online can also help minimize and/or eliminate additional cost and expenses related to traditional programs such as travel and lodging.”
Are you interested in pursuing your distance education doctorate degree in Community College Leadership? Visit the program page or online.ncsu.edu/programs for a full list of degree and certificate programs.
This post was originally published in DELTA News.