Laura Morris: The Pathway to Earning an EdD

Deciding to return to college to pursue a doctorate degree while working full-time, raising two young boys with a busy spouse, caring for a 95 year-old parent, and volunteering with a large nonprofit organization is not something that most people would consider—unless your name is Laura Morris.

Morris can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, as she nears the completion of her dissertation to earn a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s. “Going to graduate school has always been on my mind, but as I explored my options, I determined that an MBA just didn’t speak to me, and I wasn’t finding a graduate program that got me excited about returning to school” said Morris.

It was actually on the advice of a friend, a professor at Saint Mary’s, that urged Laura to go for her doctorate, believing that she would be an incredible candidate. “My friend doubled-down on her efforts to get me to consider the EdD program at the College,” added Morris. “She was a wonderful spark of motivation as I had just lost my mother, so I was open to making the effort. I think that sometimes action is a byproduct of grief, so I decided to take the leap of faith and apply.” Morris also noted that Saint Mary’s appealed to her because of the spiritual component, and being surrounded by the presence of God on campus and in the classroom was reassuring.”

Morris, who had an accomplished career as a communications executive in the media, entertainment, and high-fashion sectors, knew that she wanted to make a career shift to education. “I have always served on Boards that have education as their priority, and it’s always been transformative and meaningful work,” said Morris. She added that everything started to align—enrolling at Saint Mary’s, and starting a new job as director of policy and programs for the California Partners Project that focuses on championing gender equity to ensure that media and technology are a force for good in the lives of children. “The EdD program and my job allows me to amplify my interest in the intersection of technology and education.”

“It became increasingly clear that this was the right path for me,” said Morris. “The impact that the program has had on my life is pretty amazing. As a result of the EdD leadership program, I approach my work differently, particularly having had a media background, which is a different way of thinking. The skills that I have developed in the program have helped me to see things differently, and allowed me to delve deeply into the leadership side of my persona. I thank my professors for helping to make that happen.”

Morris has it on her radar to complete the EdD program by the end of 2021 or early 2022. At this time, her dissertation is well underway and she is grateful for the amazing support provided by her advisor and dissertation chair. “I am looking forward to becoming Dr. Laura Morris in the very near future.”

Learn more about the Doctorate in Educational Leadership here.