NCU alum John P. Rosa, EdD, served 14 years in the military where he was taught that purpose and the will to succeed can make change to the smallest of obstacles thus leading to a bigger change in life. An Education Specialist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Dr. Rosa earned his Doctor of Education with a specialization in Organizational Leadership in June 2017.
At Northcentral University, our alumni are a testament to the success of our programs. We have introduced Take Five. A Few Moments with Our Alumni to feature NCU alums who are making a difference in academia, corporations, nonprofits, government and other industries. We are delighted to spotlight these alumni who are serious about putting their education to work.
Read on to learn more about Dr. Rosa’s advice for prospective students, tips for online learning, and the best lesson he learned as an NCU student.
1. Why did you decide to go back to school; what drew you to NCU?
When I was in high school, education was never a thought, never a path that I wanted to venture. I was never the smart kid, the one to succeed where others have failed. No, that was not me…I hated and despised school; maybe that is why it took me five years to graduate high school. I joined the military, and everything changed for me. I realized the importance of education and what it can do for one’s career. In the beginning, I was a little skeptical and hesitant, but after I weathered all my doubts, I enrolled in college, which then fueled my infatuation, my love for education. From that day forward, I knew education and determination would make way to opportunity. Multiple degrees later, I still felt that I was missing something…I was still hungry for knowledge. Working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a teacher, I needed a degree that not only helped me understand research and data gathering, but a degree that helped with leadership tactics and mediation control. I wanted to go back to school to understand the relevance and cogitation of Organizational Leadership. I did my due diligence and did extensive research towards colleges and universities and I found Northcentral University. A doctorate degree was an option but what delayed the enrollment was trying to find a school that was both cost effective and non-residency required; NCU fell under both requisites. What also intrigued me was the one-to-one teaching approach. I am now Dr. John P. Rosa because of NCU and their staff.
2. What does your typical day look like?
I work in a federal prison where you never know what kind of day you will have, thus there is never a typical day in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Being that I am a teacher, I teach three 2-hour classes a day, i.e. math (pre-algebra), science, social studies, writing and lit to inmates that are assigned to my classes. If they are a naturally born citizen or born in a commonwealth owned by the United States then they are required, by law, to participate in a literacy program up to 240 hours. Teaching in a prison setting is very unconventional based on limitations but still rewarding. Traditional school settings have computers, tablets, smart boards, and WIFI for conducting research that students can utilize. In prison, they do not, so we must make do with what we have, but that is the beauty of teaching in prisons…using your personality and your knowledge in the subject to guide them into learning the information. I love teaching so regardless of the limitations, learning is still being conducted, though at a slower pace. When I am not teaching my G.E.D. classes, I am teaching reentry classes to better prepare inmates for transition back into society. Reentry classes consist of resume writing, interview techniques, money smart, mock job fairs, and job searches to name of few. Our job as federal prison employees are to prevent recidivism and give them the tools necessary to be positive contributors to society.
3. What advice do you have for prospective students interested in enrolling in your same program at NCU?
The advice that I can give to students wishing to go for their doctorate degree consists of two parts. First, know that you can do it. If you have any doubt, regardless of how minute, you will anchor yourself down with uncertainty which then will lead to the inevitable path of failure – KNOW YOU CAN. And secondly, know time management. Manage, manage, manage, and manage again, your time. You may have to sacrifice in one area to achieve in another. Whatever you have to sacrifice, stay the course, because after everything is said and done, the title Dr. would have been worth all the trials and tribulations – TIME MANAGEMENT.
4. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which would you pick and why?
This is tough because I’m an avid reader. I enjoy both fictional and non-fictional novels but If I were to choose, it would have to be a book written by Admiral William H. McRaven (retired) titled, ““Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World.” The book was so inspiring that I mirror my life after it. A Navy SEAL in the military; he uses ten lessons as a means to change one’s life for the better when addressing adversity, family, life, self-worth, decisions, work status and work ethics, health, self-drive, emotional and physical disparities, and teamwork. Being that I am prior military I know the meaning of teamwork, unity, and decision making. I chose this book as my most favorite because of the message it portrays. We need to know that obstacles are inevitable and we need to know that asking for and gaining help is ok. We also need to know that starting our day by making our bed starts the day off with a completed task. These simple but inspiring lessons can aid in your understanding when working on your degree, especially, if you are working on your doctorate. His message to you is quite simple…embrace the fear of life, believe in yourself, don’t quit, don’t judge, and make your bed.
The following link is Admiral McRaven speaking at a 2014, University of Texas, commencement ceremony that was posted by Goalcast. https://youtu.be/3sK3wJAxGfs
5. What is the best lesson you learned as an online student at NCU?
I come to realize that online education is not for everyone. It takes dedication, motivation, and time management to achieve an advanced degree in a non-conventional way when juggling a full-time job, family, and everyday life. The lesson I learned, while enrolled with Northcentral University, is the importance of feedback and understanding the meaning of constructive criticism. Basically, I learned to stay quiet and listen. The instructors, are by far, subject matter experts in their field and are knowledgeable beyond comprehension. Take heed to their feedback and directional path they have laid out for you. I assure you, they want you to learn and enhance your knowledge in your prospective degree. They are not here to fail you; they are here to guide, teach, assist, and veer you towards your ultimate goal.