After working in the business world for 15 years, Lindsay Sue knew it was time for her to make a career change.
“My work wasn’t soulless, but I wondered how many more years I could do it,” she said. “I was looking for the human element of everything. It didn’t make sense for me to stay in the same industry.
“I wanted to work in a school, but I don’t want to be a teacher. I took a lot of psychology classes in undergrad, so I thought it would be an interesting avenue to go.”
Sue completed the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Educational Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in April 2022.
“EMU was the only program I saw that is fully online for a master’s degree in educational psychology,” she said. “[Professor] Shawn Quilter was the most responsive, interactive, communicative person. He knew it was going to be a good fit for me. It turns out that it was an amazing fit.
“I knew I could do it all online. I had a good feeling about the school. I wanted it to be a public university or something that felt like a legit university that’s accredited. I had heard of Eastern Michigan, and I felt like it was trustworthy.”
Now an instructional assistant at Hamilton International Middle School, Sue said that the flexibility of the online format was big for her. She and her husband, Shannon, have two children — Calvin (7) and Noah (5).
“It was perfect,” she said. “I was working at home and going to school. Michigan is a three-hour time difference from Washington, so it was good that the program was asynchronous.”
Sue is from Seattle, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Washington in 2006. Sixteen years later, she enrolled in graduate school.
“I am the last person in my family to get a master’s degree,” she said. “They said, ‘It’s about time.’ I wouldn’t have blossomed in the same way without the online format.
“Because I was working full time and was a full-time mom, I had to be aware of when I could do schoolwork and focus, so it put a whole new perspective on being a student that ended up working out well for me.”
While Sue said she enjoyed all the courses in the online M.A. in Educational Psychology program curriculum, she especially liked gaining a new perspective.
“There is not a huge African-American community in Seattle, but there is one in Detroit, near EMU,” she said. “I love that the courses skew toward that environment and its cultural references.
“I could bring some of my cultural aspects of Seattle and my experience. It was community-based for Michigan. It was a wonderful experience.”
While enrolled, Sue took additional courses outside the online master’s degree program to add to her experience and knowledge base.
“I took a disability program that has come in handy,” she said. “My education has been applicable to so much of what I do — especially the culminating project in the psychology program. I got to choose things that are relevant in Seattle.”
Sue punctuated her major accomplishment by making the trip to Ypsilanti to walk in the commencement ceremony.
“It was my first time to ever set foot in Michigan,” she said. “My husband and I went. We also got a tour of the school. It was super cool.”
With a master’s degree and a renewed passion for higher education, Sue plans to return to school before working toward her new career goal.
“I am planning to go for a post-master’s degree in psychology at Seattle University,” she said. “Then, I want to become a school psychologist.”
For Sue, gaining confidence in herself was the key to success as an online student in the online M.A. in Educational Psychology program.
“You have to believe in yourself,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘It’s been so long since I have been at school. I have been working at mind-numbing jobs with Excel spreadsheets. Do I have it in me? Do I know how to be a student?’
“Confidence and taking that step have so much to do with it. It was hard, but having that confidence to know that you can be a student again, no matter how old you are, is important. You have to allow yourself to get back into that student mindset.”
Sue, a coffee connoisseur who enjoys attending small concerts in her free time, is glad she took the leap back into higher education.
“I got good value out of the master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan,” she said. “It has already paid off. I loved that program. I had such a wonderful time.”
Learn more about EMU’s online M.A. in Educational Psychology program.