Fall Commencement marks a significant milestone in Metro State's history—the graduation of the first students to earn their master's degrees at the College.
Last fall, 50 students enrolled in the newly created master’s programs in professional accountancy and teacher education. (The master’s program in social work launched this fall, so has no graduates as yet.) Now, one year later, accounting students Lynn Lupomech and Irina Gellan and teacher education students Erin Symmes, Evan Roth, and Madeline Burke will walk across the stage at the Colorado Convention Center on Dec. 18.
For each of the candidates, the affordability of the degree was one of the deciding factors for choosing Metro State. They hold degrees from institutions as far away as Russia and as close as Greeley.
“I feel prepared to teach at the community college level,” Lynn Lupomech says of her accounting degree. “The courses offered were both challenging and informative.”
Lupomech worked full time as a high school business teacher while completing her degree. She plans to continue teaching at the high school level and hopes to add teaching as an adjunct at the community college level.
Accounting Professor Doug Laufer says Lupomech was a superb student to have in the classroom.
Fellow accountancy student Irina Gellan already holds a master’s degree from an institution in Russia, but when she immigrated to the United States she decided to go back to school.
The hardest part of the program for her was not being a native English speaker. But, according to Accounting Department Chair Rick Crosser, she is incredibly driven to succeed.
Gellan says Metro State’s reputation drew her in and her professors and classmates contributed to a positive experience. However, the person who supported her the most is her husband, Kebede Gellan, an affiliate faculty member in Metro State’s Political Science Department. "I am grateful to him and to my children who supported and inspired me during my education.”
About the time Evan Roth was planning on going back to school for a teaching license, Metro State started offering a master of arts in teaching.
Roth, who holds a degree in information systems from the University of North Dakota, says teachers and administrators in local school districts recommended the program at Metro State. The College's diversity was also attractive to Roth.
“I was glad the program put us in varied special education field placements early, so we knew whether or not the field was for us. It was a relief to discover I loved working in special education because I had little experience in it,” Roth says.
He has accepted a teaching position in an autism program at Lincoln High School in the Denver Public Schools system.
“I feel adequately prepared for the challenge, and professors such as Diane Carroll have even made themselves available as a resource if I need any extra support for the position,” Roth says.
Fellow M.A. candidate Erin Symmes also credits the Teacher Education Department staff and faculty with being very accommodating and providing her with the tools she needed to succeed.
Symmes graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor of arts in social sciences with minors in sociology and women’s studies.
“I have always loved the challenge of school and wanted to further my current education to expand my career opportunities,” she says about coming to Metro State.
Symmes says she was excited to see how the program would evolve as she and her fellow students gave their input about what worked for them.
“This program was definitely rigorous and included lots of opportunity for completing research, experiencing all types of field placements, and meeting a great group of new people,” Symmes says. “I really liked going through the program with a cohort type of group; we all had the same classes and were experiencing the craziness all together. It was a great built-in support system.
“It is definitely a challenge, especially if you are going to school full time and working full time, but it is definitely worth it in the end,” she says. She is now searching for the right teaching job.
Madeline Burke, a candidate for the master of arts in teaching, was unable to be reached for comment.
The five master’s candidates and a record 1,256 undergraduates will graduate Dec. 18 at the Colorado Convention Center. Former Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric B. Shoomaker is the commencement speaker.
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