July 22, 2016
As a first-generation college student and the first in his family to receive a master's degree, Josiah Dawley '15 graduated from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) with a 4.0 grade point average and a split emphasis in both Public Relations and New Media Marketing. But his journey of educational achievement was anything but easy.
Before enrolling at SNHU, with the support of his family, Dawley reached out to various schools and looked over various programs, only to be left feeling that he was a burden to the admissions counselors he spoke with. He felt as if he was taking up their time, and that his research to find the best school was inconsequential. That is, until he spoke to an admissions counselor from SNHU.
"After I did my research, I came across the master's in communication program here at SNHU and noticed that it was a good program, well received by the academic community," said Dawley. "That is when I realized that the school was a great fit for my academic goals. My admissions counselor seemed to truly care about my interests and needs, as compared to the other universities I inquired to."
While Dawley found success at SNHU, school in general didn't always come easy to him. During the second semester of his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, he received his lowest grades ever.
"I questioned if college was the right thing for me, and I felt so down at the time. Thankfully, my older brother provided a lot of support and guidance. He knew that I was having academic troubles, and he mentored me through the next semester. He was the first person in my family to attend college, and I always looked up to him."
The next semester, Dawley's grades radically improved, and during the rest of his time at UO, he never received another grade lower than a 'B,' finishing his degree with a 3.57 grade point average. He believes that it was during these formative undergraduate years that the support of his loved ones set him up to succeed at SNHU.
While attending SNHU, Dawley came across many great teachers, but Professor Monica Fish left an immense, inspirational impact on him. "She had a large class but treated me like I was the only student. She helped shape my career path and was genuinely interested in my academic and professional goals," he said. "She encouraged me, and ultimately helped shape the professional I am today. She even made me feel like I wanted to turn around and give back one day to other students with the knowledge and skills I now possess."
Although they have never met in person, Dawley hopes his gratitude comes across loud and clear. "I'd want to tell her, 'Thank you for your continued involvement in my education, and also in my personal and professional development. You went out of your way to inform me about different professional associations I could join, different conferences I could partake in and you advocated everything that I could do with this degree and the skills I acquired. I appreciate everything you did for me, and for that, again I thank you.'"
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