Jena Hawk, Ph.D.


Dr. Jena Hawk earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and currently is a language arts instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She says, "My doctorate increased my career opportunities tremendously. Prior to earning my doctorate, I was qualified to work as a language arts instructor. Now, I have the credentials to be considered for high-level administrative positions at the community college level as well as the university level. If I choose to continue teaching, I could enter the professoriate at a college or university.”

Dr. Hawk’s initial goal for entering the higher education doctoral program “was to become more knowledgeable of the students I teach and the operations of higher education institutions. In addition to increasing my knowledge, I also selected this program as it enhanced my opportunities for career advancement. The education and skills I gained from my experiences in the program prepared me to successfully enter administration, whether that happens within the next year or two or in the future.” She indicated that although her goals did not change dramatically, she says, "My goals became more focused. I found keen interests that I was able to pursue while enrolled in the program. Now that I have an interest in certain areas, I want to publish and share my findings with others, which is the foundation of education—to share knowledge."

Dr. Hawk reflects,  “I should have taken more time to engage in mentoring relationships with faculty prior to writing my dissertation. Reflecting on my experiences, I realized that I could have benefited from the faculty’s knowledge and experience. There is no better feeling than hearing the words, Congratulations, DOCTOR, on the day you successfully defend your dissertation. Also, I would tell graduate students to embrace (and even enjoy) the opportunity to write a dissertation—it is amazing the information that you will uncover and learn. Not only will you learn about your area of expertise, you will also learn about yourself during the research and writing process. The department is comprised of wonderful and knowledgeable faculty members who are there to help you succeed.”