Theresa McKenna

Theresa McKenna

B.S. in Leadership and Management Studies
Alumna, Class of 2010

Theresa McKenna is no stranger to accomplishment. She graduated high school early, at the age of 16, and in the ensuing 20 years, worked her way up to a senior executive position at United Way, where she helped to raise $100 million for the organization annually. Yet, in the midst of all of her success, McKenna was haunted by the fact that she never earned a college degree. Knowing that a lack of college credentials was an obstacle in the professional world, she decided to pursue the B.S. in Leadership and Management Studies at the NYU School of Professional Studies Paul McGhee Division.

To earn her undergraduate degree, McKenna confesses, was a dream—one that she would repeatedly place on the back burner, because of financial constraints and the pressures of a full-time career.

At McGhee, McKenna found a program that was designed with the adult student in mind. "After meeting with McGhee advisors, the caliber of education was clear," she explains, "as was their understanding of the needs of working professionals." She notes that classes were comprised of peers her own age and with similar life and work experience. "Nearly everyone had some professional experience that they contributed to class discussions," she asserts. As a result, McKenna was given practical insight into academic topics, which allowed for easy application in workplace scenarios.

With her demanding work schedule only allowing time for two classes a semester, it would have taken McKenna six to seven years to earn her degree. However, McGhee’s Prior-Learning Assessment (PLA) program, which allows prior life, work, and educational experience to be applied towards degree credit requirements, permitted her to finish in five years.