Loyola University Maryland

Graduate Alumni Ambassadors

Loyola College of Arts and Sciences

Beth AwaltBeth Awalt

Emerging Media, '17
Communications/Social Media Coordinator, Archdiocese of Baltimore
Co-Founder and Co-Director, The Starfish Foundation

In the non-profit career field, it's typical to see organizations serving people in amazing ways -- and not enough people hearing about their work. Through side projects, I realized that effective marketing and social media were a surefire way to increase support for a non-profit organization's work. I desired to learn more about the communications field, so I began to research Master's programs. True confession: I have always been impressed with Loyola's commitment to service and social justice, and I not-so-secretly wanted to be a Loyola student because of the great respect I have for the institution. Thankfully, Loyola's program for a Master's in Emerging Media is the perfect fit: a strong communication curriculum, a flexible schedule for me to balance full-time work and a part-time volunteer role directing a nonprofit, and a reputable school with an emphasis on community and justice. A year and a half into my degree (I'm studying part-time!), I landed a new job as a Communications/Social Media Coordinator. I wasn't in the Communications field before, so I'm grateful to Loyola for the education and opportunities to advance my professional development and switch into a life-giving career.

Kathryn D’Agostino

Speech-Language Pathologist, St. Coletta of Greater Washington
M.S. Speech-Language Pathology, '13

I chose Loyola for two reasons: the Jesuit values and the Loyola Clinical Centers. Having attended Loyola for my undergraduate degree, I knew how Loyola upholds the value of cura personalis, or “care of the whole person.”  Cura personalis guides me each day as I work with my students and their families, so that I focus on the whole picture, not just their communication at school. The Loyola Clinical Centers were also a big reason I chose Loyola. As a graduate student, I was in the clinic seeing a variety of clients from the very beginning. It was awesome to start hands-on experience so early, and it was comforting to not have to worry about getting all my clinical hours before graduation. My Loyola degree helps me every day—I am always remembering something I learned in a class that helps me in therapy.

Catherine J. Eaton, LCPC, NCC

Catherine EatonOwner, Upcounty Pastoral Counseling Services
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Pastoral Counselor
National Certified Counselor and Approved Clinical Supervisor for LGPC in Maryland
Maryland License: LC5355
M.S. Pastoral Counseling, '11

In my mid-thirties, faced with single parenthood, I was encouraged to return to my original career goals with a program that spoke to my strong faith. The M.S. in Pastoral Counseling is a holistic, inclusive program that effectively trains students to become licensed clinical professional counselors with specialty training in addressing all forms of spirituality and religion in the healing process. As an older student, I was nervous returning to the rigors of academic life and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.  I was blessed with support of family and friends as well as Loyola faculty. I was self-employed with a flexible work schedule so I could attend full time and complete my program in three years.  I financed my education primarily with federal student loans. The financial aid office of Loyola was kind enough to assist me in finding additional scholarships and grants.  With my professional degree, I can now make a comfortable living in my preferred field helping people.

The Loyola education program was rigorous and supportive of its students.  I found a sense of belonging with students and faculty that I was in the right place at the right time.  My internships allowed me to develop authentic clinical skills and employment opportunities after graduation.  Loyola faculty shared tips of the trade and encouraged students to be involved with professional conferences and their own spiritual development.

Allison Harmon

Ph.D. Candidate, Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin
MTS, ‘16
M.A. Liberal Studies, '13

Allison HarmonMy time at Loyola has been life changing. I initially entered into the Liberal Studies program right after undergrad as a way to bide some time and to earn a degree while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I had focused so intensely on graduating from undergrad in three years, that I hadn’t given my next steps the same amount of consideration. I found the Liberal Studies program and it was exactly what I needed. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allowed me to take classes in several different humanities disciplines. The instructors encouraged me to take ownership of my course and I found myself gravitating towards the disciplines of philosophy and religion. The program also introduced me to Jesuit values; which I hope will continue to be a guiding philosophy that I carry with my throughout my life. The time that I spent in the Liberal Studies program prepared me for continued academic study at Loyola and beyond.

As I was nearing the end of my time with the Liberal Studies program, I took a class in the Theological Studies department. The first class solidified that I would be getting my next degree in that program. Loyola’s Jesuit values/core values are at the forefront of every decision the MTS department makes and can be seen as the guiding principles, which shaped my experience in the program. Within the classroom, instructors encourage: discernment and development of faith/scholastic identities, focus on academic excellence and constant challenge to improve, inclusion of diverse viewpoints and materials to contribute to conversations and to accompany/challenge assigned readings, examining contemporary issues through a lens of social and religious justice seeking, and acting with integrity/honesty in all that we do as students. Outside of the classroom, a sense of community was fostered organically by the students, as we challenged each other to take on leadership roles and to serve our respective theology community, our faith communities, and the greater Baltimore area community; to live out the principles that we were discussing in class.  In particular I was able to take my passion for social justice and apply it to my academic interests. I wrote my thesis on Neighbor Relations in the Abrahamic Traditions and created a guide for fostering interreligious dialogue among people of faith. My experience with the MTS program is one in which I grew equally as a scholar and as a person outside of the classroom; the ideal of cura personalis/care for the whole person, is one that sums up my experience.

Both of the graduate programs that I attended prepared me for the academic rigor of my next endeavor: a PhD in Biblical Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Among other things I will be using the Jesuit values that I learned at Loyola to engage with images of migrant identities in the book of Genesis, and then hopefully I will apply what I learn to the world’s migration crisis. An education rooted in the Jesuit tradition is one that has set the foundation for my life going forward.  

D’Anita Parker

Danita ParkerParole and Probation Agent, MD Dept. of Public Safety and Correctional Services
M.S. Pastoral Counseling, '18 (expected)

I chose this particular program because I wanted to combine two of my passions: helping others and psychology (counseling). Being able to understand other people from their worldview is essential to helping them and this program does just that.

This particular program has helped me with my everyday duties as a Parole and Probation Agent because it has provided me with additional tools I need to help understand where my client currently stands with regards to being under the supervision of the State of Maryland and having to follow the various rules and regulations pertaining to such supervision. One tool in particular is that of being an attentive listener. This tool helps one figure out exactly what the person needs (and possibly wants) to be a better person. The course that teaches this, along with other valuable tools, is Helping Relationships. Another course that I believe was integral in my growth as an overall person is Religious Contemporary Perspectives. This class helped me with understanding others. Throughout this course, various world religions are discussed and my personal growth occurred while submitting our final paper. The purpose of this assignment was to choose a world religion that was discussed during the semester that we either wanted to learn more about or a religion that we did not understand and write a fifteen-page paper from a non-critical or judgmental viewpoint. I chose to write about the Islamic faith. I admit that initially it was challenging, however in the end, I learned a wealth of new information that I would have never previously opened myself to learning if not for this particular assignment and for that I am truly a better person.

Graduate school is an investment; thus a commitment is attached to it. I am currently enrolled in the Pastoral Counseling Program as a part-time student because I work full-time. I am fortunate enough to have a job that is flexible enough for me to attend classes in the late afternoon, evening and/or Saturdays. The decision to invest in continuing my education was worth it because it also will aid me in advancing forward in my current position as well as providing the foundation for becoming a licensed counselor. The financial investment is another piece to the larger puzzle. Thankfully, I have been able to finance my graduate education through the help of federal loans as well as a grant from my church. My advice when it comes to financing your education: Borrow only what you need; no more no less! I would also add that if you are working, inquire if your employer participates in a tuition reimbursement program. This program is truly a life-changing experience and there is no other place I’d rather be.

Matthew Shannon

Matthew ShannonSenior Research Analyst, Deloitte Consulting, Philadelphia, PA
Masters of Clinical Psychology, Thesis Track '14

Through my search for graduate programs, I recognized the caliber of the Masters in Clinical Psychology program at Loyola. I also knew Baltimore had the opportunities of a larger mid-Atlantic city, while still having the feel of a local community. Reflecting on my experience, I can say Loyola sets graduate students up for success. Courses are taught by experienced educators who are passionate about working with students, which is part of the Jesuit teaching style.

In the community, my status as a student at Loyola connected me with opportunities for academic research, experience in mental health programs, and professional development and networking. From study sessions in the computer lab to social events with the Graduate Student Organization, I felt like I was always developing as a as student and as a professional.  As a result, my collective experience helped me discern and prepare for the next step in my career.