McCormack Speaks

Top Ten Reasons to Go to Graduate School


Georgianna Melendez poses at graduation with her husbandOne night while Georgianna Meléndez was staying in the office late to do homework, as she put it “uninterrupted by life,” her boss popped in. She explained, “I was ripping my hair out … wishing that statistics could disappear.”

Her supervisor asked her why she was pushing through with so much going on in her life.

To say that Meléndez had a full plate was an understatement. A mother of two and a part-time graduate student in the Master of Science Program in Public Affairs (now Public Administration) taking two night courses each week, Meléndez worked full-time as executive director of Commonwealth Compact, a special diversity initiative aimed at making Boston a welcoming, diverse place to live and work for all people.

In the moment, she recalled, “I couldn’t answer his question, I only knew that I HAD to do this.”

A week later, while sitting at a coffee shop studying for her statistics mid-term, she questioned the wisdom of her path. “So I put pen to paper and this is what I came up with – in no particular order.”

1. It’s free (as an employee of the university, this is a benefit)

2. Credibility

3. Because I can and my parents could not

4. To make my parents proud

5. Because I am a statistic (Latina/female)

6. Because I wouldn’t get past HR for most of the positions that are posted on campus even though I would otherwise be qualified

7. “It’s too hard” is not a good enough excuse when I put it next to how hard my family members have had to work – especially my Dad

8. I have been lucky so far in my career path, but there are no guarantees

9. Because the market is competitive

10. It is an escape and an opportunity to grow

At convocation, Meléndez earned the Public Affairs Public Service Award. This honor, nominated and selected by her peers, is given each year to a student who epitomizes community service and outreach efforts that go above and beyond working full-time and going to school.

The following day, she carried the college banner at the university’s commencement ceremony.

Today, Georgianna Meléndez serves as the chief diversity officer and is pursing a PhD in business administration, both at UMass Boston.




Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar