TGIF: Nicole Hesson

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This Goal Is Finished

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The Achiever

Today’s TGIF achiever is Nicole Hesson. Nicole is a super energetic, spirited educator that Jaime met a couple years ago, and Matt had the pleasure of meeting a few months ago. Upon first meeting her, you will see that she is very intelligent, creative, outgoing, and a little silly! Check out her awesome story of going back to school so that she can take on greater challenges in her life.

I am a Philadelphia native who recently moved back to get my doctorate at Temple University. I earned my BS in Biology at Davidson College in North Carolina. Go ‘Cats! I then came back north to earn my Master of Arts in Teaching at Johns Hopkins while teaching full-time as a Baltimore City Teaching Fellow. After a 3 year stint as a high school teacher, I dove into middle school at a DC charter school. After 7 years of teaching, I had taught 6 different subjects in every grade from 6th through 12th! It was a wonderful experience, but I was ready to transition out of the classroom and into the next challenge.

The Goal

The first goal was to take a class over the summer! The big goal is to get my EdD in Educational Administration.

Why This Goal?

When I decided to enroll in Temple, I wanted to get started right away. I didn’t want to waste any time. I figured a summer class was the best way to get the ball rolling. I intend to get my doctorate in as short a time as possible so I can put my skills to use somewhere that needs me!

The First Step

The first step was contacting my advisor and figuring out if I could take a class. And if I could, which class to take. It definitely turned out to be the toughest step (see next question)!


First, my advisor went on sabbatical and was unavailable for consultation. After I contacted another professor in the program, I found out he had given me some incorrect information. (I had already started the process of lining up internships that I didn’t need.) Then, the professor I had contacted did not always answer questions in a timely manner and eventually suggested I wait until the Fall. Finally, I emailed the interim department head and she thought that there was a better program I could enroll in. But, she stated that I probably wouldn’t be able to transfer. I found out from the head of the other department that they were no longer accepting science applications. As you can imagine, at this point, I felt very defeated!

Staying Motivated

I knew I had been accepted to the program, so I tried to focus on the reasons I was accepted. I stayed focused on the fact that someone in the university had a concrete answer to all of my questions. I made it my goal to find who that person (or people) was (or were).

Who Helped?

I went to meet with the new interim department chair in person to solve the issues I was having. Dr. Caldwell – the interim department chair – eventually figured out that the program I was accepted to would work just fine for my life goals. She also signed me up for a summer course! She was the biggest help in achieving my goal. My family and friends were also extremely helpful by listening and helping to come up with solutions. I needed a lot of help focusing towards the end! Email and internet, of course, were a great way to contact people!

TGIF – Celebrate!

I spread the good news to all the people who had heard my plight, listened to my struggles, and tried to help! Then, I finished packing for my big move.


Remember that somebody, somewhere, knows the answer to the question you are asking. Finding that person might be difficult, but be persistent. Also, have a network to lean on. Sometimes, when you are too far in, it’s hard to see things clearly. A solid network of friends and family definitely helps with that.

What’s Next?

Next up is being a full-time student! I am enrolled for 4 classes in the Fall and am really excited. My long term goal is to be a professor for teachers who are preparing to teach in urban schools. I determined that getting a higher degree was the best way to do that. However, this class I’m taking called Leadership in Higher Education is making me rethink my plans about being a professor. Maybe a college presidency is in my future. Can I get back to you? J

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