Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies

In support of lifelong learning

February 28, 2024

Headshot of Carolyn CrossCarolyn Cross MS'22 saw Brandeis GPS as an opportunity to support lifelong learning for both herself and others.

Hello! My name is Carolyn Cross and I completed my Master's in Project and Program Management in June 2022. I am the Assistant Director of the Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (BOLLI), a vibrant year-round community of intellectually curious older adults who enjoy exploring a wide-ranging curriculum.

Prior to this position, and while completing my coursework, I was the Senior Program Coordinator at BOLLI. Having my master's gave me an advantage when I was applying for my current position, which I began at the beginning of 2023. In my job, I oversee program administration; information/financial systems; and operations, including marketing, communications, and registration.

The MS in Project and Program Management was perfect for me because my job involves planning and executing many projects of various sizes. For example, we redid our website last year. To complete this process, I used many of the tenets of project management I studied in my courses, such as stakeholder management and scheduling.

We also put on a number of events throughout the year. To ensure the success of these events, I approach each one as an individual project and break down the tasks into their smallest parts. I am also responsible for managing the production of the BOLLI course catalog each fall and spring term. For each of these catalogs, we have a tight timeline and a lot of moving parts — so I am glad my degree covered the planning process so thoroughly.

Working at a lifelong learning institute embodies my approach to life. When presented with the opportunity to take classes and obtain a degree, it was a no-brainer.

I started my degree at the beginning of 2020 so the time I spent completing my coursework consisted of a lot of change. While I enjoy in-person learning, the fact that my GPS degree was online meant that I was able to continue with it uninterrupted when gathering with others in person was no longer possible.

Pursuing an online degree also meant I could learn with and from peers living around the world and working in various fields. It felt like I had a cohort because I took a number of classes with the same folks. Even though we were never in person together, we would Zoom for group projects or to bounce ideas off each other, so it felt like I got to know my classmates.

Some of the courses I most enjoyed were Communication for Effective Leadership, Negotiating and Conflict Resolution, and The Human Side of Project Management. I manage three staff members, and I am always striving to improve and tailor my management approaches.

My previous BOLLI manager completed her Master’s in Project and Program Management through GPS and one of my colleagues is currently completing theirs in Strategic Analytics. My colleagues and I have all found that the GPS degree programs offer transferable skills that apply directly to our work.

For more information on the M.S. in Project and Program Management or any other GPS programs, please visit our website.