Rowan Global Student Shay Williams: Earning a Master’s in Diversity and Inclusion

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Shay Williams, a Rowan Global student in the M.A. in Diversity and Inclusion program, shares her experience coming back to school after years of field experience.

Rowan alumna Shay Williams did not take the traditional route of obtaining her bachelor’s degree. She took a five-year break and acquired experience in the field.

After working in social work, she decided to gain her master’s degree during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t think it was productive that everyone I worked with had the same experiences or same degree. That’s why I wanted to get my master’s in diversity — it was needed in the field. The last five years really guided me professionally, so I knew this would be something I wanted to do,” she explains.

Shay decided to obtain her master’s in diversity and inclusion at Rowan because she completed her undergraduate degree at Rowan. “A degree at Rowan has credibility. That name on a resumé really carries weight.”

Shay laughs outside on campus.

A unique challenge that Shay has experienced in the program so far is the coursework. “Working full time and earning a master’s degree is a lot. Two classes were way too much, so I’m taking my time and taking one class. I plan on also taking classes in the summer to finish on time,” she says.

Shay speaks to influential faculty at Rowan. “Dr. Sullivan, director of the … program, is awesome. She is really good at igniting passion in her students. All staff at Rowan are really engaged.” 

After earning her master’s degree, Shay “wants to stay in social services and maybe publish one day. There is a diversity and inclusion department office with my current employer, so I’m looking forward to seeing where the degree takes me.” 

Shay smiling outdoors on campus.

After asking Shay to offer advice for people who want to earn their master’s in diversity, she replied: “Take time for yourself after a triggering topic. Take 30 minutes to do something for yourself. Try not to internalize these heavy topics and carry them with you. Don’t let what you’re learning stop you from living your own life.” 

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, junior public relations and advertising major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

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