Paulette Huckstep

Paulette Huckstep Ed. D. student
Ed.D. Student

Tell us about your Marymount University online experience.  

I started this journey feeling a bit uninspired and lacking in direction. I needed a challenge and boy did I get one. The Marymount Ed.D. program has been a transformational experience for me as I have had to go deep within and outside of myself to understand what motivates and inspires me as well as others and harness this knowledge to be a better and more effective leader. 
Going through this program has given me renewed energy and clarity about how I want to show up in the world and contribute not only to my organization and community, but to larger society. 
I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this program and cohort. It has been a true growth experience for me, and I am looking forward to going out and doing good in the world and having a true impact. 


What made you choose Marymount for the pursuit of your Doctorate? 

I've been thinking about going back to school for quite some time. I would always put it off, thinking that I wouldn't go back to school until my kids were older. Then the pandemic happened. I found myself with a lot more time on my hands because I wasn't making the commute to work and school, kids were home remote learning and I was working from home. I thought maybe this is the time to just do it and go for it — so that's what I did.  

It's fully online. I knew that as a working mom, there was no way I could be on campus several times a week. That just wasn't going to work for our family. I love that it is a brick-and-mortar university. It was important for me to get my degree from a traditional university that has a campus life and community that I can continue to engage with and be a part of once I finish my degree. I also love the fact that Marymount is very community oriented and engaged with their local community; that was something else that was important to me. 

What do you think of the Ed.D. program so far? 

I'm pleasantly surprised at how seamless it has been. This is the first time that I have taken online courses. Going in, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's going to be online. How am I going to get to know my cohort? Will it feel isolated and kind of lonely doing this type of format? And nothing could be further from the truth.  

I've gotten to know my cohort so well, and it feels like we're going through this in a traditional kind of classroom format. Marymount has done a great job at structuring the program in such a way that in our online forums, they're very collaborative.  

We have group assignments. We have sync sessions where we all come together to share ideas and perspectives on the different lessons that we're covering. It's really a collaborative experience and sometimes you forget that it's really an online program. It's been a very, very positive experience.  


How are you balancing your assignments? 

It's definitely more integrating than balancing, I would say. I've had to learn how to be flexible and creative with my time. I have children who are very active in their school activities and sports, and so I always have my tote bag if I'm at track practice or football practice. I always have my computer and a textbook so that I can be productive. I can squeeze in a chapter or two while I'm waiting. If I'm at a doctor's appointment, I do the same thing and read a few pages.  

The goal is just to do a little bit every day so that you can have some kind of rhythm going, so it's more about being flexible and creative and just fitting in that reading and homework time whenever you can.  


Tell us about your background. Is this program only for educators?  

I have an MBA. While we do have a lot of educators, we also have people from the nonprofit sector, government or entrepreneurs who own businesses. There's a very diverse group of people in my cohort, which makes the program very rich because of all the different perspectives and experiences everyone brings to the table.  

Check out the Ed.D. curriculum. One of the key things for me was a practical curriculum that I could apply to my organization. I really wanted to have the theory marry up with all my years of experience. That theory needed to be something that I could then go back and apply to my home organization. Really look at the program and envision how you would learn and apply the lessons in the curriculum.  

What advice do you have for those who are considering the program? 

Go for it. There's never going to be a perfect time, so you just have to kind of make up your mind that this is what you're going to do and make it happen. I would say to be sure that your support system is on board because it's going to require commitment and sacrifice of time. My family is also going through the Ed.D. program with me, and they are just as vested as I am. It is really a village that is required to do this.  

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