The Class of 2016
Puts their Degrees to Work

Written by Dena Roché

Completing a rigorous degree program at Northcentral University and earning an advanced degree, marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

At this year’s graduation festivities, Higher Degrees talked with several 2016 graduates to find out how they’re planning to put their NCU degrees into action.

Jesse Maggitt (Doctor of Business Administration)

Jesse Maggitt Jesse Maggitt

When Jesse Maggitt started his doctoral program in 2010, he was retiring from the military and planning his next move. He originally thought he would pursue a corporate career but, six years later, he’s rethinking this path.

“NCU was a challenge because it helped me grow in areas that I never thought before imaginable. That’s one of the reasons I’m a success today. I’ve learned that things aren’t in a straight line,” he said.

While Maggitt is currently the vice president of operations improvement for an investment bank, his goal is to become a university professor or dean. He’s already getting a taste of that new career track teaching Human Resource Management and Lean Six Sigma at Governors State University.

“There is a slight decline in the availability of instructors across the country right now,” Maggitt explained. “People have a thirst for knowledge and we [need] to have educators ready. I’m [prepared] to do just that. When I was in the U.S. Army, I was taught, coached and mentored by some great people, but they were also overwhelmed. Now it’s my turn. It’s time for me to give back as well.”

Maggitt is also dedicated to giving back through volunteer work in his Chicago community whether it’s through work with veteran’s groups, diversity groups or partnering with women’s charities.

Kim Porter (Master of Education in Teaching and Curriculum)

"I had people encouraging me to go further and to do more."

Kim Porter

While Kim Porter had been in a classroom every day for 30 years, it was as the teacher not the student. When she decided to go back to school in 2014 to get her master’s degree, the tables were turned.

“I thought I was done, and some 30 years later, I had people encouraging me to go further and to do more,” said Porter. “I saw where a higher degree would have me in a position to do that.”

Porter has a challenging position teaching English at a high-risk high school in Columbus, Ohio. Her students are former dropouts, aged 16-21, who are trying to get their diploma.

Porter expected that even after earning her advanced degree, she would stay in the classroom, but now she’s not so sure.

“Forces seem to be wanting me to be outside the classroom,” she said. “Corporate ladder climbing can be lucrative, and I could use some climbing to pay back my loans!”

Now Porter thinks she will likely move into an administrative role writing books or designing curriculum, or maybe eventually teaching as a professor.

It seems like once she got back to being a student, it worked for her. She enrolled in her Doctor of Education (EdD) program at NCU in July.

“During graduation, I [was compelled] to pursue my doctorate,” she laughed. “My husband and total strangers told me I should go for it. So I decided to do it.”

“Never in my wildest dreams did I plan on having a master’s degree or PhD.”

Steven Cofrancesco

Steven Cofrancesco (PhD in Business Administration)

Steven Cofrancesco Steven Cofrancesco

Steven Cofrancesco was a born entrepreneur. He started his first business at age 18 with $200 and lived in his 10’x10’ office to get it off the ground.

“I never wanted to go to college,” he said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I plan on having a master’s degree or PhD.”

After founding his first company, Cofrancesco sold several businesses. He then changed direction, and joined the Peace Corps.

Cofrancesco was stationed in Turkmenistan for a year. The country, which was part of the former Soviet Union, was struggling with capitalism. Cofrancesco worked with the local government of a small town to help them develop a more Western, free market, business training center.

“I lived with the local people on about $40 a month,” he said. “I came back a changed man.”

Cofrancesco’s goal is to help organizations function better and enhance the corporate America working experience at the same time. He currently does this through his consulting business, which is focused on strategy and program evaluation. While completing his PhD, he cut back on consulting to achieve a good work, school and life balance, and to keep his family financially secure. Since earning his degree, he plans to increase his consulting work and pursue a new goal.

“I’m interested in teaching and publishing right now,” he said. He’s currently focused on publishing portions of his dissertation in professional journals, as well as teaching strategic management at the university level.

Galit Ventura-Rozen (Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy)

"I want to have a bigger impact than just seeing one person every hour."

Galit Ventura-Rozen

For many NCU graduates with an MAMFT degree, the ultimate dream is to open a full-time private practice. For entrepreneur Galit Ventura-Rozen, a private practice is just one piece of a larger puzzle.

For the past 20 years, Ventura-Rozen worked as a commercial real estate agent. Today she oversees that business, and is also launching Galit Empowering U. This woman’s empowerment company is designed to give women the tools they need to get to where they want to go.

“I am all about people and how they can change,” said Ventura-Rozen. “I see myself going out there instead of just having people come to me. I want to have a bigger impact than just seeing one person every hour.”

Ventura-Rozen currently practices at the Kayenta Therapy Centers, the largest private practice counseling center in Las Vegas, Nevada.