Student Profile: Jen Heron, Organizational Leadership
by Emily Fix
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Jen Heron, and I’m in the Organizational Leadership program here at Seattle University. I’m actually a native Seattleite, third generation. I was born just a few blocks away at Providence Hospital up the street from Seattle University. I live in Shoreline with my wife and three cats.
What were your college and career experiences like before coming to NCS?
Before I came to the School of New and Continuing Studies (NCS), my education experience was very much limited to community college experiences and experiential learning. What I mean by that is while most people were going to four-year college, I was starting local non-profits, and then a national non-profit with the Quakers. My previous education experience was at Seattle Central Community College. I’ve been wanting to go to Seattle University pretty much since I was in high school, but the cost and life circumstances didn’t quite meet up with that.
Why did you decide to complete your Bachelor’s degree?
I’ve been looking at going back to get my BA for a while, but I wasn’t interested in just a traditional learning experience. Because of my experience and my profound curiosity, I wanted a learning experience where I could really talk with people and explore the ideas and the experiences that I have and the different interconnections. I’m also in Healthcare Information Technology (IT) for the last 20 years now, and I found that while learning on the job with IT worked well when I first started, there is a growing impetus to make sure that you have higher education credentials. The other motivating factor for why I’m looking to get my BA and finish is that I have a dream that I share with my wife to start a grief retreat center. The Organizational Leadership program seemed completely in line with starting our non-profit.
What made you decide on the Organizational Leadership program?
I chose Organizational Leadership because I have been in so many different leadership positions naturally throughout my personal and professional career. I really wanted to understand the frameworks underlying some of the organizational leadership theories of how organizations operate. I wanted to see if there were things that I could improve upon by going through the program myself. Since being in the program, I’m really exploring the idea of vulnerability-based leadership. Admitting that we’re not perfect and using that to connect with the people that we work with, both as peers and as allies and as mentors.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge in returning to school as an adult is time. For me, I want to write the best paper I can. I want to explore ideas much deeper than necessarily the assignments are asking for. I find that I’ll spend maybe a week on a paper that most people might not otherwise spend and really challenge myself in ways that match that curiosity. But it does take a toll on my family life, my work life, and my personal life.
What would you tell another adult who is considering going back to school?
If you have the opportunity to do it and you’re at all curious and looking for support, this is a great program for that. My initial experiences, because of my lack of support when I was younger, meant that I was really afraid to return to school. I wasn’t sure that I was good enough. I wasn’t sure that my grades would warrant that I could be in this program. I really appreciated the support. I would say that the other surprise that has really meant a phenomenal amount is that the teachers and the staff and the adults I have been in this program with have been incredibly supportive. That has been a wonderful surprise that I am so thankful for.
Contact us to learn more about the Organizational B.A. Degree Completion program or the other B.A. Degree Completion programs, courses, and certificates at the School of New and Continuing Studies (NCS) at Seattle University.
You can also watch Jen’s interview here.
March 23, 2018