“Inside the Profession” is an ongoing series providing an up-close-and-personal look at what Capella University students, alumni, faculty, and staff do in their jobs and how they balance school, work, and life—presented in their own words.
Dr. Angela Pope is a 2014 Capella University graduate and current ambassador. She graciously provides a peek into her profession, her demanding schedule while she was a student earning her PhD, and advice for those considering a doctoral degree.
Q. What is your job, and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
A. I work as a full-time state government employee in North Carolina. My workday is typically 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. My position is classified as a Business and Technology Applications Analyst. My primary responsibilities include business systems analysis, data analysis, and application development support.
Within Application Development Support:
- I collaborate with the project team and business users to support the activities and progress of CJLEADS (Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data Services) statewide deployment. CJLEADS is a program designed to integrate data found within the state’s various criminal justice applications and provides up-to-date criminal information in a centralized location via a secure connection for use by state and local government criminal justice professionals.
- I actively participate in and support CJLEADS testing, support CJLEADS program, and help with production support and on-going design and development activities associated with the CJLEADS application.
Within Data Analysis:
- I collaborate with the project team and business users in identifying data requirements to develop a clear understanding of business sources, required transformations, and reporting and data access need to support data integration projects.
- I support CJLEADS data loads and database optimization efforts.
When it comes to Business Systems Analysis:
- I collaborate with CJLEADS project team and business users in identifying business requirements to develop a clear understanding of the State’s data integration needs.
- I assist in requirements gathering activities.
- I ensure that business requirements are aligned with business goals and project objectives.
I also regularly attend security awareness programs, which is a critical requirement of the job.
Q. How are you using your degree?
A. I received my PhD in Organization and Management with a specialization in Information Technology Management in March 2014. I use the course work daily in my job in state government. My degree also gives me an opportunity to teach business and technology courses at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level. Further, a PhD broadens the areas that I can pursue even when I retire in four years.
Q. What was your life like when you were a student at Capella?
A. I began my program in April 2008. In addition to school and my full-time job, I also worked as an adjunct professor at an online university, teaching one or two classes per quarter.
As an adjunct professor, I responded to discussion replies during my lunch break, and would continue posting discussion replies and answering student questions immediately after work. My students did their assignments in a lab environment, so the weekly assignments were automatically graded upon completion.
As a PhD student, I generally took two courses per quarter. I would start assignments around 9:00 p.m. and work until 3:00 a.m. from Monday through Thursday. Keep in mind that I had to be at work at 7:00 a.m. (completely exhausted). I would typically sleep from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday night. Around 10:30 p.m., I would try to eat a high protein snack to get started. I would take the time to check email to see if my students had questions about their weekly lab assignments (multi-tasking at this point). The goal on Friday was to stay up until my coursework was complete. I would finally go back to sleep around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and sleep until 6:00 p.m. that night.
Q. That’s not a schedule for the faint of heart! What advice would you give to future Capella PhD students?
A. Wow! I think it is important to remember that life events will occur, and I encourage you to take time for yourself. God will give you exactly what you need to push through the life events. My doctoral journey included several live events such as surgery (June 2011), employer layoffs (July 2011), my father passing (2012), and my mother’s cancer diagnosis (2013). I wanted to quit. However, I had a mentor and committee that believed I could finish the race. Continue to communicate with your academic advisors and professors.
I received a pin at my first residency in April 2008 that simply stated “You Can Do This.” The program is not easy, but I promise you that you can make your way to the finish line. Hang in there!!
Learn more about Capella University’s PhD in Information Technology Management program.