Rota is a small town in the south of Spain, between Gibraltar and Portugal – a warm, coastal community with cobblestone streets and a cosmopolitan vibe. While deployed there with the U.S. Navy for four years, Cristy Mwanika ‘19 traveled extensively through Europe – seeing Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Cyprus – and enrolled in Eastern Mennonite University’s Accelerated Degree Program.
“I was impressed with the staff’s attentiveness in answering questions and providing the tools and resources to help me succeed,” Mwanika said.
With the Navy, Mwanika served as an operations specialist in the surface warfare unit, which monitors the activities of other water- and aircrafts. Operations specialists collect, evaluate, and disseminate tactical combat information to command and control stations. Similarly, in her new position as the enterprise application support analyst at Mary Baldwin University, Mwanika communicates with various departments across the university, helping them plan for their information technology needs.
Mwanika said the Accelerated Degree Program helped equip her for this sort of work, which is both technical and organizational.
“The Leadership and Organizational Management program has really helped me better understand and reflect on my skills, which has projected into my workplace,” Mwanika said. “As a result, I have received recognition, support, and a recent promotion!”
Balancing professional advancement with life
Mwanika said it was important to her to balance her personal and work life with a bachelor’s program through the ADP. Graduates of the program earn a degree in Leadership and Organizational Management, meeting one night a week over four consecutive semesters. About a third of the sessions are held online, simultaneously.
Adults who want to return to school can qualify for the program if they hold at least 48 college credits from another institution, a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, and are at least 23 years old.
While enrolled at EMU, Mwanika began working at Mary Baldwin as the assistant to the vice president of business and finance. She enjoyed taking on bigger and bigger projects, setting up technology and systems to help meet the business needs of the university. But between her personal ambition and education, her supervisor told Mwanika, “you’re a little too advanced for this position!”
Mwanika assumed the support analyst position at the beginning of this year.
“Today, I frequently find myself analyzing, identifying, and applying the knowledge at work to find solutions for a better working environment,” she said. “In today’s diverse and fast moving workplace, I enjoy providing organizational management to implement thoughtful, transformative solutions.”