Recent Alumna Credits ADVANCE Program in Opening Up Job Opportunities
Buffalo, New York – January 24, 2014 – Crystal Thornton spent the past two years attending D’Youville’s ADVANCE Program for working adults in the evening, while working a number of temporary jobs and rearing her two boys as a single mom. After a lot of hard work she graduated in 2013 with her bachelor’s degree in business management resulting in a good job today in Buffalo.
“I could use a little break right now,” she laughed during a recent interview.
Thornton credits the program and her resulting degree with increasing the number of job offers she has received and opening the doors that have resulted in a good professional position. “Places I had previously sent my resume to never responded but once I resent it with my bachelor’s degree listed, they responded quickly and favorably,” she said.
The ADVANCE program was recommended to her by a friend. Once she enrolled she found it a perfect setting for her work schedule, family lifestyle and, it was comfortable. “I had one evening class at a time that ran five weeks. My classes were with a small group of other adult students who became my friends and have now become my business contemporaries.” The group, called a cohort, moved together from class to class.
“We each brought our own work experience to the class room. Listening to the other students was a great learning experience in itself. We all have life experiences that help us learn from each other.”
ADVANCE class sizes are small and Thornton, who served five years in National Guard, found that to be a great feature that facilitated discussions about the subject at hand. “I felt comfortable giving my opinions and was respected as an adult.”
She wisely used her temporary jobs at various companies as internships and found it very helpful. “At times I would question some of the decisions made and compare it to what I had learned in class.” A real world learning experience.
Thornton found the faculty in the program to be professional, friendly, and always available for any questions or discussions of the subject at hand. “They respected all of us, not only for our efforts to get our degree but for our varied experiences.”
One of her favorite professors was “Dr. J.” as accounting professor Joseph Jurkowski, CPA, CRA, MBA, PhD is called by students. “He made a very difficult subject interesting and I ended up liking it. He sparked my interest in the financial world; he's a great teacher.”
“Crystal was one of my better students," Jurkowski said. "She possesses maturity and great work experience with unique insights into certain business situations. There is no doubt she will be successful in whatever enterprise she chooses.”
Thornton's sons are very proud of mom’s accomplishment and “now they have no excuse not to get a degree,” she added. One is a student at Erie Community College and the other is in high school looking at colleges. You know mom will be ‘on their case.'
According to Jacquelyn Milbrand, ADVANCE and MBA coordinator, Thornton is “one of the most driven individuals I have ever met. There is nothing to stop her from succeeding in anything she puts her mind to."
It’s not over yet for Thornton, a western New York native, as her future plans are to earn a master’s degree in international business.
“The program was excellent for me and I recommend it to others. Today, you have to stay on top of getting your education and D’Youville was the way to go for me.”