Sandra Johnson

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?

I did not have the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree right after my undergraduate studies. I always worked while in college so I took a break after I earned my bachelor’s degree. Then I got married and started a family. However, I always knew that that if I wanted to be a successful project manager I needed a graduate degree. It was the tool I needed to give me a more competitive edge and to help me move to the next level in management.

Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?

I chose Hood College immediately after I saw the MIT program curriculum. It was ideal for what I needed to sharpen my skills. I am naturally a very competitive person; being successful at whatever I do fulfills my enthusiasm. I found Hood College’s program to be the best in helping me meet my career goals.

What do you value most about your relationships with your professors?

My relationship with my professors means a lot to me. I have learned that the people you meet going up are the same you meet coming down. I value their professionalism and the practical experiences they expose us to, which gives me the confidence to know that I am not just earning a degree but I can do the work as well. They make you work very hard to ensure that you’ve really earned that degree and that know what you’re doing. This is what differentiates Hood College’s graduate school education. My relationship with professors is long term; I know I can always contact them for suggestions if I encounter any problem at work.

What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?

My academic experience at Hood has been nothing but fun and challenging. Like I said, I love solving difficult tasks. One big project I worked on was in my IT 518 class, where I was responsible for a department that had to design and implement a government contract, “Feed the Terps” project. I learned different techniques from some of my team members, who had many years of experience as IT project managers. Most of us initially underestimated the project until it got tougher and tougher each week. As the only female in the class, sometimes it was challenging dealing with the men on the team. Practically utilizing my soft skills from management and organizational behavior helped me to deal with each personality and deliver a quality product within the allotted time.

How do you manage your many other obligations such as work and family with the demands of graduate school?

Prioritization is the key to success in the demands of graduate school. As a professional project management/business analyst consultant, wife and mother of four including twins, every second of my day is occupied, so prioritization is my tool 24 hours of the day.

Can you offer any tips to prospective students?

I just want prospective students to know that earning grades at Hood College graduate school is very tough, because the professors demand quality and the academics are rigorous. The ideal way is to do it right after college, but there’s really no perfect time to attend graduate school. It doesn’t matter how you plan your life, it’s full of uncertainties. Don’t wait! All you need is determination.

When you aren’t in class, what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

I attend a lot of social gatherings during my spare time to sing. I work very hard during the week, so Friday nights I usually prepare my songs to minister over the weekend. Singing exhilarates me. Sometimes my husband plays the guitar while I sing and the kids dance. I work out with Zumba on the Wii at least 20 minutes a day or 45 minutes when I am less busy. I write articles, socialize online and hang out with my family a lot on weekends. Swimming is one of my hobbies so I do a lot of that during summer with the family. I aspire to play golf but have not had the opportunity to join a golf club yet.