From GED to EdD: Seeing Challenge as Opportunity

Dawn Mackiewicz

Dawn Mackiewicz

When you meet Dawn Mackiewicz, you see an energetic, passionate, workhorse of a woman. You see an accomplished online instructor who not only teaches her own students, but teaches other online instructors how to be more effective in the online format. Mackiewicz current is a student in the Doctor of Education program who, in addition to working full-time in higher education and teaching several college courses, somehow finds time to complete her coursework and maintains a 3.9 GPA.

What you don’t know about Mackiewicz, though, is that education didn’t always come easily to her. Due to family issues at home, Mackiewicz left high school at age 14 and obtained her GED by the age of 16. At the age of 16, she realized that having a college education is critical to anyone’s success and decided to embark upon her journey to higher education by the age of 19. Mackiewicz is considered “first generation” in pursuing a college degree. “I came from a family where my mother didn’t finish high school, my father didn’t finish high school – it just wasn’t emphasized in my house,” she said. It made her realize she wanted to break her family’s cycle, she said.

“That’s what motivated me to go back and make something of myself,” she said. “I wanted something better.”

Fast forward to 2013. It wasn’t easy, Mackiewicz said, since she lacked the formal educational background of her peers, but completed her associate and bachelor’s degrees, then her master’s degree, and was accepted in the Doctor of Education program at Northeastern.

“You have to work a lot harder than everyone else, but I proved it can be done,” she said. “People are embarrassed sometimes to say they were at a disadvantage, but I’m proud of who I am and where I come from.”

Currently, Mackiewicz is working as an Academic Service Specialist at Quincy College, and teaching five different courses as an adjunct faculty member, and teaching students who speak English as a second language.

“I really thrive on helping students overcome their barriers,” she said.

Her future goal is to obtain her Doctor of Education in higher education by age 50, and see what professional doors it will open for her, either as an opportunity to move up in higher education administration, or the ability to land a full-time university teaching position.

“Teaching online has its challenges, but the online class is only effective when the instructor is actively involved,” she said. “The fact that I have substantial experience teaching online and I’ve completed my degree online will provide me with more opportunities in higher education.”

With many accomplishments under her belt, but more still on the horizon, Mackiewicz says she hopes her experience inspires others to persevere, even when goals seem out of reach.

“I tell my students to never forget where you came from, and that’s from my personal experience,” she said. “If you can accomplish things in your life, then you need encourage others to do the same.”

About Northeastern CPS

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