Name: Mr. Byron Lee
Degree: Master's in Organizational Learning and Leadership
Class of: December, 2011
My name is Byron Lee, and I will graduate on December 17th, 2011 with a master's in Organizational Learning and Leadership. Three things have resonated with me as a result of being in this program. The eighteen months that I have spent in the OLL program helped to enhance my understanding of the trainers' role in an organization, why it is imperative to develop human capital, and the advantages of leveraging relationships. The program helps to highlight the need for trainers in organizations today and equips students with the tools necessary to become effective trainers. In applying theory and practice, I have had the opportunity to work with Starboard Cruise Services where I gained valuable insight on the role and effectiveness of training and development, and its impact on the success of the company.
Developing human capital is the underlining focus of this program where my classes were geared towards understanding how investing in employees' training and education contributes to a better return on investment for employers because the right people are trained for the right jobs. As far as leveraging relationships, this program provided me with a platform to meet and network with people that are already working in the field. The master's in OLL allowed me to have a better understanding of the different functions of Human Resource Development and how it fits into the big picture of any organization. I used the opportunities provided to solicit advice and feedback about ways to improve myself. Overall, my journey was memorable, and my classmates and Dr. Kopp were always supportive and ready and willing to accommodate me whenever necessary.
Name: Geralda Vastey
Degree: Master's in Organizational Learning and Leadership
Class of: December, 2011
My name is Geralda Vastey, and December 14, 2011 will mark the end of my journey in the Organizational Learning and Leadership (OLL) program. What have I learned? What is the purpose of the OLL program?
As someone who is interested in the inner workings of human relations, organizational performance, and training & development, the OLL program provided me with the necessary tools to launch my career. The program has exceedingly surpassed my educational expectations, and it has broadened my horizon and my personal attitude in how organizational performance works and the concept of self-direction.
My practical experiences through the OLL program helped me to apply the various theories learned in class and most importantly, to make sense of my career plan - especially for someone who has never worked in the field of human resources. I worked with the Municipal of Biscayne Park Police Department in Florida and developed the employees' policy manuals, leave manual, and updated the Department's hazardous and flood evacuation and procedure plan.
I also had the opportunity to work with the Broward County Aviation Department in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I co-designed and delivered customer service training to approximately 300 employees varying from security to operations and maintenance. This particular experience was far beyond what I anticipated when I began this program and has helped me in designing my future career path.
So, to answer my proposed question "Why OLL?" - Flexibility in knowledge, skills, problem solving, decision making and higher performance are what OLL is about and what it has taught me. These are valuable concepts that I can attest are needed today to combat this fickle economy.
Name: Melesia Webster-Adderley, MS
Degree: M.S. in Organizational Leadership and Learning
Class of: December, 2010
2009-2010 President, ASTD Barry Student SIG Chapter
Barry University's Master of Science in Organizational Learning and Leadership ("OLL") program was exceptional and definitely worth it. The courses within this program have challenged and shaped me to become more innovative and self-directed with my own learning. All of the professors are caring, and I truly enjoyed the small class sizes, which gave that one-to-one opportunity with the professor – you are not just a number in the OLL program. Dr. Kopp is an outstanding chair and academic advisor for the program. Dr. Kopp's encouragement truly helped me to maximize the full potential of what this program had to offer. I have grown so much for the year and a half that I was enrolled in the program, developing many skills. In addition, through the OLL program I was introduced to the American Society for Training and Development ("ASTD"), and it has truly been of great benefit to me, aiding me with the opportunity to obtain various leadership positions within the Barry community and the South Florida Chapter of ASTD. Thank you to all of the staff and faculty for organizing and facilitating such a wonderful program. A special thank you to Dr. Kopp for giving me this opportunity and for all of his support. My goal is to one day complete my doctoral degree within this field and become a professor of the same. Finally, need I not forget to mention, the life-long friendships I have made through the program that I am truly grateful for. I would recommend this program to anyone seeking to pursue a career in the training and development field. Thank you Barry University. My experience as a graduate student in the OLL program was truly an unforgettable one.
Name: Corina Velasquez, MS
Degree: M.S in Organizational Leadership and Learning
Class of: December, 2010
2009-2010 Vice President, ASTD Barry Student SIG Chapter
My experience as a graduate student in the Master's in Organizational Learning and Leadership (OLL) program has been amazing, to say the least. I have been continually challenged to be creative, dynamic, and innovating in each of my classes. The coursework specifically, was of particular interest to me as I prepared to enter the training and development world. I feel that all of the professors have made an impact in my life as each delivered in a different style and expertise. Dr. Kopp particularly, was the consummate professional, coach, mentor, and advisor that I could ever have. Without his encouragement, it would have been difficult to complete the journey. Moreover, his influence in recruiting me to attend my first American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) meeting led the way to leadership opportunities within the Barry community in addition to the Fort Lauderdale chapter. I have flourished this past year and a half as I have fine-tuned many of my social and inter-personal skills to align with the dynamics of this program. My graduate experience at Barry thus far has been extremely successful, and I am thankful to the faculty for putting together such an excellent program for working adult students like me. Lastly, I will definitely miss my new-found friends and fellow OLLers as our cohort was a tight niche, and frequently were my fellow team members in class group assignments. I am extremely encouraged to continue my journey and pursue higher education because of the caliber and program quality I have experienced at Barry University as a graduate student.
Name: Debra I. Diaz, MS
Degree: People Development Specialist
Workplace: Mercantil Commercebank
My graduate degree changed my life in so many positive ways. I hope that anyone who reads this and is undecided as to whether or not to enroll in the master's degree program, will take the step and go for it. In my own personal journey, I had completed my bachelor's degree in early childhood and elementary education in 1992. Going back after so many years was not an easy decision. Working full time as a teacher, having a husband and two sons to take care of, plus commuting two hours a day seemed impossible to me to take on such a task. After meeting with Dr. Kopp, a decision that had taken me 12 years to think about, in an instant I knew that this meeting was about to change my life.
Today I work for a Mercantil Commercebank as a corporate trainer, and my title is People Development Specialist. I will forever be grateful to Barry University who opened the doors to my future and Dr. Kopp who was the one who inspired me to believe in myself.
Name: Jamie Chesler, MSHRDA
After working at numerous accounting and office management positions with small companies and lacking the education to pursue higher level positions for which I had the experience but not the required educational levels, I made the decision to pursue a Bachelors degree. Many of the colleges I researched had 16-week semesters, and at that time, I knew that I could only take a couple of classes each semester. How would I ever finish? I had seen an advertisement in a local newspaper for Barry University. The length of the semesters (10-weeks) intrigued me so I made a call and set up the initial meeting with a Barry Advisor.
After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Professional Studies from Barry University, I was finally able to apply for higher level positions. This was an accomplishment I did not see happening for me. As a matter of fact, I cried when I walked across the stage to receive my degree. I finally did it! Within a year of receiving my Bachelors degree, I decided to go back to school and pursue a masters degree.
I am currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Organizational Management and teaching for a local community college. I couldn't be happier. Thank you to Dr. Kopp and to all of the professors with Barry University for providing me and all the Barry students with the very best education, support, and friendship.
Name: Nereida Feliz, Graduate Student
The HRD program at Barry (particularly Dr. Kopp's classes) has taught me so much about development of individuals and organizations. It has helped me to improve my management skills as well as gain greater respect from my peers. My staff recently participated in an upward appraisal, and all of my scores were excellent. HRD has taught me how to manage people, and at the same time, observe other things such as change agents and destabilizing forces (both external and internal). I feel more prepared today than four years ago to take on additional responsibilities within my organization thanks to the HRD program. HRD has taught me to see the organization as a living organism that will always continue to evolve and adapt to change.
I would recommend to other business majors to at least take the core classes of the HRD degree.
American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) Barry Student Special Interest Group (SIG)
Submitted by Ms. Corina Velasquez, MS
Former Vice President, ASTD Barry Student SIG Chapter
The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Barry University Student Special Interest Group (SIG) has been an instrumental piece in the learning and growth process of the master's in Organizational Learning and Leadership (OLL) program. I remember the first day of graduate school and clearly recall Dr. Kopp, our outstanding advisor, telling us all about ASTD. In fact, it is because of his encouragement and dedication that I am now a member of this prestigious organization. As many of my classmates may agree, it is always a challenge to begin graduate school, in a new school, and with classmates you have never met before. Soon, our cohort of fresh faces was able to proceed from class to class, sticking together in each of our classes and quickly becoming expertise seekers.
Attending ASTD meetings was an essential part of the learning process, as Dr. Kopp always explained it was a good way to absorb the practical aspect of our degree program for our continued professional development. Indeed, the best memories of my graduate program include my newfound friends, mentors, and fellow ASTD members. Particularly, our SIG board members were the feeding link between our ASTD South Florida Chapter and our peers. I can proudly say that our leadership team leaves behind deep footprints for future OLL generations to follow. As pioneers in our ASTD Barry Student SIG, the graduating class of 2010 was innovative and highly involved in ASTD. As the baton is passed to the next ASTD Barry Student SIG leadership team, it is with a great joy to know that the legacy will continue. Thank you ASTD for being a special part of my graduate studies and most importantly for providing valuable tools to build a brighter tomorrow.
2009 - 2010 ASTD Barry Student SIG Leaders and MS in OLL Graduates
Left to Right: Nicholas Tomasone, Melesia Webster, Corina Velasquez, Christina Mayo, and Melissa Tirado