Many Possible Directions for Setting Course


These boats are heading in four different directions. They mirror my attempts to narrow down my doctoral study topic. I thought it was employee engagement for baby boomers and now I’m not so sure anymore. Each new course offers new exciting topics. I feel like “Squirrel!!!!” in the movie “Up.” Does every doctoral student go through this?

I even scouted a possible topic in my course, Management Information Systems. I read about data warehouses, knowledge management systems and supply chain management wondering how individuals’ brains are wired to successfully manage technology like that?

Then I read about a company’s attempts to convert best practices and stories into a knowledge management system. The term “occupational community” jumped right off the page! We read so much about how disengaged employees are. Does a strong occupational community support employee engagement? I would bet my 401(k) on it!

How do you build and maintain a strong occupational community? With employees in all sectors working virtually more often, there are fewer watercooler and elevator chats where people spontaneously talk about projects. Those informal face-to-face interactions make work much more fun. I find that no amount of emoticons can replace a real smile and a laugh from a colleague. Moreover, solutions to problems and opportunities for collaboration often emerge out of spontaneous, informal, face to face interactions.

Normally I love to plan ahead. For my doctoral study topic, I’ll quote Emily Dickinson: “I dwell in possibility.”

Lisa Cook, DBA Student and Senior Director of Career Services

Originally published on LinkedIn, May 19, 2016


Tips on How to Impress a Field Experience Site

Are you a psychology, social work, or counseling student seeking a Field Experience site?  Wondering how to stand out from other applicants? sunshadesMitra is a PhD in Psychology–Clinical Psychology student who landed a practicum site at a Catholic school in California.  She is now working under supervision with adolescent girls who experience behavioral and mental health challenges.

How did Mitra maximize her chances of landing an interview?

Mitra started gearing up for her practicum search in February of 2016.  She contacted Career Services and worked extensively to update her CV and cover letter.  During this process, Mitra learned how to accentuate her skills, identify her target site’s needs, and determine the precise qualities potential sites were looking for in an intern.  These insights helped her communicate relevant skills and knowledge areas to employers.

Mitra then contacted her Field Experience Coordinator for a list of sites where other Walden students had completed internships or practica.  She also researched her local area, used job search aggregates and niche job banks, and referred to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) website.  While visiting the California Psychological Association (CPA)’s job bank, she located lists of potential sites and shared leads with other Walden students living in California.  She found her current practicum through CPA and submitted an application.  After two months, she received a phone call inviting her to visit the site and complete additional paperwork.  Shortly after her visit, she was contacted for a face-to-face interview.

How did Mitra impress her practicum site?

Working with Career Services helped Mitra learn how to present herself with confidence during an interview, share stories of her accomplishments, and communicate the quality of her Walden education.  She impressed her interviewer by taking the time to research the site –its mission, client population, challenges, and employees.  She built a connection with her interviewer by focusing on a common interest – the prevention of human trafficking.  Since this site had not worked with Walden students before, Mitra shared talking points about Walden’s social change mission, global student population, academic residency requirements, projects and assignments, and the field experience process.  She made such a positive impression that her interviewer asked whether she could recommend other Walden students to their site!  Needless to say, her interviewer was very impressed with Mitra’s academic program, knowledge of psychology, and commitment to social change.  After Mitra returned home, she immediately followed up with a thank you letter and, shortly afterward, received an email hiring her for the position.  Mitra is looking forward to a challenging, yet rewarding, practicum experience.  We wish her luck on her journey!

Are you gearing up for a Field Experience search?  Visit Career Services’ Field Experience webinars page to gain insights for a productive search.

Seeking to build your Walden network?  Learn about upcoming Career Connections events.

 Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services


Going Beyond the A Grade



“Are you in the game?”  I’ve been asking myself that in my Doctor of Business Administration program.  Like many of my doctoral student peers, I’m working full-time, taking care of life’s usual responsibilities, and trying to find time to exercise and socialize.  The “game” is challenging – lots of balls in the air!

One thing I know for sure – when I’m up at midnight on Sunday nights uploading research papers for the 1 am deadline, I am one competitive player!

I’m in the game.  Why?  I’m challenging myself to “go beyond the A.”

“Going beyond the A” is researching articles on General Motors and then, after several hours of reading,  switching gears to write my ethics paper on Target instead.  The more I read about GM, the more I could understand Target’s failure to heed malware warnings much more easily than GM’s failure to find faulty ignition switches.

I have spent considerable time thinking about how hard it must be for CEOs like Gregg Steinhafel and Mary Barra to track such huge mistakes happening at the lower levels of their large bureaucratic companies.  Is “ignorance at the top” an excuse from one’s duty to provide ethical leadership and avoid harm to customers?  It’s a question worth pondering well after getting my grade.

In going beyond the “A,” I often make assignments harder than necessary.  When I had to select a newsworthy CEO for a paper on leadership styles, I decided to pick a female CEO.  It was much tougher to research Marissa Mayer than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.  Why?  Women make up only 4% of S&P 500 Chief Executive Officers.  Information on their leadership styles is sparse.  I hope that women studying business all over the world go beyond their A’s to change that.

I’m creating new learning opportunities and pathways of thinking.

Are you in the game?  Go beyond the “A.”

 Lisa Cook, Aspiring DBA Student and Senior Director of Career Services

 Originally published on LinkedIn, April 15, 2016


Making Positive Social Change through Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse


Ramona has a master’s degree in Psychology from Walden and is now pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology.  She has a background in the helping professions, having earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Service Administration and worked as a correctional nurse and in drug and alcohol treatment programs for many years.  Her long-term goal is to become a licensed psychologist.

Six years ago, Ramona started helping victims of domestic abuse when she offered shelter in her home to a woman, who had been battered by her spouse, and her child. That sparked her to lay the foundation to build a non-profit organization called Brighter Horizon.  Its mission is, “No woman left behind.”  Ramona states that Brighter Horizon “will strive to make sure that women get the help that they need to be stable mothers and not to be faced with domestic violence in the home while raising their children. Our goals are to provide shelter, counseling, healthcare, childcare, and permanent housing placement.  I would also like to address these issues not only in the state of New Jersey but I have future plans to build at least one program in each state.”

Two of the Board members for her non-profit have passion and experience working with victims of domestic abuse.  For the past three years, Ramona has worked with a team to develop her business plan.  Her current focus is to raise funds to buy a residential shelter that will offer transitional housing, childcare, counseling services, medical, and dental for up to five families. As a mother of five children ages 2 to 15 and a domestic violence survivor, Ramona aims to support mothers with proper resources so they can raise their children in healthy homes.

For more information, please visit the Brighter Horizon website at: and email Ramona at:

We thank Ramona for sharing her story of social change and wish her the best with expanding her evolving non-profit organization.

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services


Feeling Complacent and Boxed In?

Cat in a box

Gracie prefers a cardboard box as her bed of choice.  It may be hard and cold, but it’s familiar and smells of interesting foods from Costco.  Meanwhile, the furry warm cat bed remains brand new and unused.

The start of our State Fair here in Minnesota, branded as “Minnesota’s Great Get-Together,” signals the end of summer.  Yet, each year, there’s something about fall that signals promise and new beginnings.  It could be the start of the new school year or my September birthday.  September somehow feels like a “Plan B New Year” for getting things done.

What’s on your 2016 “to do” list?  The year is nearly 3/4 over.  You might regroup by asking these questions:

  • What support is available to help you reach your goals?  If you haven’t accomplished goals on your own, some help could be just what you need.  We often worry about burdening others when asking for help actually strengthens relationships and friendships.  Take the risk and ask.
  • What is not working well for you?  Do your goals need a tune-up?  If you’ve been chasing the same train for years and it always leaves the station before you get there, is it time to catch a plane instead?
  • What new stories can you build about who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re headed?   As the saying goes, “What we focus on, we become.”  If you want to develop in new areas, you need to celebrate your progress along the way.  Are you playing to your strengths?  Are you sharing your talents to help others?

I hope your fall season holds a world of new possibilities – outside the box!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Career Services Director and DBA Student


Originally posted on LinkedIn, August 15, 2016


Social Change and Professional Growth Through Volunteering


During the Walden Social Change Networking event on July 21, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Ebony Cray, a Walden student in the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. During our online chat, I learned that Ebony is an active volunteer in her community. She is on the Board of Directors for OMEP-USA, an “organization dedicated to advocating for children’s rights and high-quality education for children.” She also started World Advocates for Children and Families, LLC, (WAFCAF),  where she offers free resources and guidance for families in need, and she has been a Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) volunteer for three years. Her volunteer work is in addition to her full-time position as a teacher and program coordinator for a child development center. Our conversation focused on her work with CASA.

As a CASA volunteer, Ebony’s role is to guide, support, and advocate for abused and neglected children who are involved in the court system. To become a CASA volunteer, Ebony submitted an application and went through an interview process. Once accepted, she received extensive training on how to navigate the court system, collaborate with attorneys and social service agencies, and most important ― “advocate for children’s best interests.”

After completing the CASA training, Ebony was assigned to a case involving two young brothers. She has been with their case for three years. She meets with the brothers monthly, attends court hearings, communicates with the children’s attorney, writes reports, and advocates for the brothers before the judge. As their advocate, Ebony has built a bond of trust with the brothers. She described her relationship as one that will “tug at your heart strings.” In 2015, Ebony was awarded a CASA scholarship to attend the National CASA conference where she connected with other CASA volunteers and learned more about family law and advocacy. She also attended her state’s annual CASA Day at the Capitol event to learn more about current and proposed legislation that affects children in foster care and CASA programs.

Ebony is a CASA volunteer because she both believes in positive social change and she wants to take an active role in making change happen. Through volunteering, she is strengthening her professional skills, learning about the “plight of others” in her community, making connections, and becoming an adept and persuasive leader for families.

The Career Services Center thanks Ebony for sharing her story, and we wish her continued success in her academic program and career!

To explore the positive impact volunteering can have on your career, view the Career Services Center archived webinar: Maximizing Career Success Through Strategic Volunteering

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor



Game-changing Tips to Boost Your Higher Ed Job Search

What does it take to land your first higher ed teaching job?  Bridgette, a Walden DBA student and business professional who recently landed two adjunct teaching positions, would tell you to get the right information before starting your search.  She shares how she shifted her mindset to tackle the higher ed hiring process:

Change Your Game Plan

Bridgette initially approached her job search by hiring a resume service to create a generic CV.  This strategy did not yield results.  She became frustrated and discouraged due to the lack of response from employers until she visited Chronicle Vitae, a powerful networking site for academics and researchers.  On this site, she watched a webinar on CV writing and realized her document required substantial improvements.  She contacted Walden Career Services and scheduled an appointment for a CV review to help strengthen her format, condense her experience, and emphasize skills attractive to employers.

Get Informed

As a defined benefits analyst and client coordinator working in a HR Consulting business environment, Bridgette was unfamiliar with the recruiting, selection, and hiring process in higher education.  Working with Career Services, she revised her CV and learned tips to navigate the job search process.  She also tapped into Career Services’ website resources, including the Doctoral Resources page, CV Guide, and OptimalResume’s CV Samples.

Navigate the Hiring Process

Her tailored CV and diligent preparation attracted employers.  When an online university expressed interest in hiring her as a business school instructor, she reached out to Career Services for advice on salary negotiation and what to expect during new instructor training.  A couple of weeks later, a local college asked her to stop by to complete her human resources paperwork, take a tour, and get her syllabi and books for the two courses she will be teaching this fall.  The advice she received from Career Services helped her build confidence and avoid unnecessary mishaps during the hiring process.

Bridgette encourages Walden students who are seeking higher ed positions to save time and effort by reaching out to Career Services.  She states, “Regardless of whether you are advancing your current career or changing careers, Walden Career Services should be your first point of contact.  Walden Career Services provides ‘game-changing’ advice and current industry information.”  We wish Bridgette success as she starts her teaching career.

Need to boost your higher ed job search?  Visit our “one-stop” Doctoral Resources page to get started.

 Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services

Dina Bergren