In every issue of Higher Degrees, we highlight NCU alumni around the world who are truly achieving higher degrees in their lives and communities.


  • Ellie Abdi, 2017 EdD with a specialization in educational leadership, is a clinical faculty member at Center of Pedagogy in Montclair State University. She is also an associé de recherche and professeur associé at Université de Reims in France, a content expert for Grand Canyon University, School of Doctoral Studies in Arizona and a consultant with the global professional skills program (GPS) at The American University of Paris, France. She has authored two books on education and has contributed several chapters on bio-mechanics for several books.
  • Kyle L. Bryant, 2017 PhD in business administration with a specialization in marketing, is a territory sales manager and has been an adjunct professor at Baker College and Baker College Graduate Studies for eight years. He is a member of NCU Advengers program and of AMA business.
  • Joseph Eric Yapi Cielenou, 2018 MEd with a specialization in sport management, is the assistant director of athletics at Lycée Français de New York (French High School). He also founded a nonprofit organization, Cielenou World Children, which organizes a sport festival every spring in Yaoundé, Cameroon, dedicated to providing a safe and stable environment for disadvantaged youth to play sports and receive academic support.
  • Christopher O. Ekakoro, 2018 PhD in business administration with a specialization in industrial/organizational psychology, has started a hedge-fund company.
  • Greg Ezeilo, 2018 PhD in business administration with a specialization in computer and information security, has published a paper, "Motivating Technology Innovations at the Nigerian Parliament," and is the editor in chief of the public accounts committee quarterly newsletter for the House of Representatives for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • Hans Kwok-Lun Fung, 2017 EdD with a specialization in organizational leadership, is currently the director/head of school at Tien Shan International School in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In January 2019, he was invited to speak at two local English (Ling Liang) Schools in Calcutta, India. He spoke to 2,900 students on the topic of life-long learning, and to over 100 teachers on the journey of a teacher with transformational impact. He challenged younger generations in both groups to be instruments of positive impact to their communities, nations and the world.
  • Sheila Griffin, 2017 MEd with a specialization in emphasis in international education, is the founder and AMI primary & elementary teacher of LEAP International Montessori School, LLC in Rio Rancho, NM.
  • Scott M. Little, 2017 PhD in business administration with a specialization in applied computer science, is an adjunct professor of technology and operations management at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, where he teaches statistics for business analytics. He works as a senior specialist-data scientist/predictive analytics at Southern California Edison, where he consults senior management on advanced analytics and data management and is a subject matter expert in machine learning, physics-aided deep learning, and artificial intelligence. He has published two books: "Alex Agunas and the Spirit Travelers" (sci-fi folk history), and surrealist detective novel "Bain's Identity."
  • Ricardo P. Mabayo, 2017 PhD in business administration with an emphasis in electronic commerce, is CEO and co-founder of e-B2B Solutions LLC, a full-service electronic commerce solutions provider. He has published two books: "A $147 Billion Opportunity: Acculturation, Decision-Making, and the Filipino American Consumer," and "Consumers as Decision-Makers: The Effects of Acculturation on the Cognitive and Affective Orientations of the Filipino American Online Consumers."
  • Sheri McKillop, 2018 DBA in business administration with a specialization in general business, was promoted to vice president, academics at University of Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada. Dr. McKillop has spoken at conferences in Singapore, the U.S., Canada and India.
  • Sue Mendenhall, 2016 EdD with an emphasis in curriculum and teaching has been teaching English at Oxford Area High School in Pennsylvania for 21 years. After graduating from NCU, she was hired by Cecil College in Maryland as an adjunct professor to teach EGL 102: Literature and Composition.
  • Jane Ngunjiri, 2017 MEd with a specialization in special education, is currently working as a teacher/mentor/coach and a supervisor in a child development center that is soon becoming a therapy center for kids.
  • Julie Ollila, 2017 EdD with a specialization in curriculum and teaching, teaches fifth grade at Reynolds Elementary School. She was recently hired as an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University, teaching graduate-level literacy. Additionally, she had an article published along with Dr. M. Macy in The Journal of Social Studies Research.
  • Caroline Pfeiffer, 2018 MA in psychology with a specialization in general psychology, is currently working as a student advisor at South College in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • John Pierre Rosa, 2017 EdD with a specialization in organizational leadership, was promoted to assistant team leader for the crisis support team at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where he works as a teacher and reentry instructor. He was also promoted to lead recruiter for his facility, speaking on behalf of the agency at universities, businesses and at expos. In 2017, he received the Regional Special Emphasis Award for being the primary Hispanic program manager for the southeast region.
  • David Shahan, 2017 DBA with a specialization in organizational leadership, works for the U. S. Department of State and was recently promoted to GS-13. He has spoken at Department of State-sponsored in-house seminars and other industry-based conferences.
  • Alvin L. Ward, II, 2017 PhD in education with an emphasis in organizational leadership, is a professor of organizational management at Mississippi Valley State University. He received a certificate of appreciation from Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society for his service to the Omega Beta Chapter at Mississippi Valley State University and was invited to be a guest speaker by the career services center at Mississippi Valley State University, to help motivate students to attend graduate school. He was also featured in Mississippi Valley State University‘s Communique' newsletter for being the youngest employee with a PhD.
  • Herand Ron Zargarian, 2018 DBA, is assistant professor of accounting at Indiana Wesleyan University, Devoe School of Business.