Ready for Anything

Versatile Degrees Create Opportunities Across All Sectors and the Globe

Dr. Melvin Musick

Dr. Melvin Musick, EdD ’08

GSEP’s doctoral programs in the Education Division offer a wide range of professional possibilities after graduation. The doctor of education in organizational leadership (EDOL) is designed to teach students how to take on leadership roles in a variety of settings, preparing them to become business and academic professionals. The doctor of education in organization change (EDOC) comprehensively assesses the world’s changing business environments and emphasizes the theory, research, and practice of change within and across organizations. Finally, the doctor of education in learning technologies (EDLT) helps students understand product design, the relationship between humans and computers, and management issues surrounding technology—knowledge that can be applied in a multitude of forums. The following five examples will showcase how our alumni are using their education in unique ways to make an impact.

Organization Change

Dr. Melvin Musick (EdD ’08) cultivated his knowledge of organizational structures and processes as a staff professional at the Los Angeles City Mayor’s Office, director of agency relations at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and executive director of Cities in Schools – Los Angeles.

For the past 18 years, Musick has acted as an external consultant at Los Angeles-based company Organizational Concepts. In this role, he assesses and creates the issues, policies, and programs affecting residents of California and other states. In the process of utilizing collaborative techniques to analyze and implement local, regional, and statewide programs, Musick often finds himself coaching government officials, foundation staff, and businesspeople in an effort to inform strategic decision-making, enhance stakeholder outcomes, and positively affect the social environment.

One of the projects that Musick finds personally satisfying is designing and evaluating the educational programs hosted by the Los Angeles-based Japanese American National Museum. This work has taken him to several states, and connected him with countless educators, policymakers, youth, and families. Musick also enjoys creating and assessing model programs that target individuals and families living in distressed circumstances. He hopes that by demonstrating the utility of these models, governments and foundations may further invest in the most promising programs.

“I am drawn to work with public institutions due to their mandate to serve all people, regardless of circumstances, because it aligns with my personal and Christian values,” said Musick. “Because of its international focus, EDOC expanded my worldview to include all people who are endeavoring to create meaningful lives.”

Dr. Evelyn Robertson

Like Musick, Dr. Evelyn Robertson (MBA ’95, EdD ’01) is impacting many communities through the consulting firm she founded, Robertson and Associates. The company assists large organizations in designing strategies and implementing tactics to support sustainable business initiatives. As a self-proclaimed “Christian entrepreneur,” Robertson’s innovative programs have supported her clients in accordance with Christian values, differentiating her offering from other consultants and reflecting the Pepperdine mission.

Robertson has not only been a student at GSEP, but an adjunct professor in the organizational leadership program. In 2005 she taught the seminar “Transforming Organizations in a Global Community,” which focused on change theory, futurist literature, and worldwide trends in education and related disciplines.

Robertson professed that, “The degree I received at GSEP was the catalyst that inspired me to launch my own consulting firm. I acquired the ability to successfully apply theories, models, and processes learned in the classroom to the real business world. I focus on empathic listening, which helps me better understand the needs of my clients and to think strategically about how to assist in achieving their goals.”

Organizational Leadership

Dr. Patrick Ross

After working for the McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing Company for 18 years, Dr. Patrick Ross (EdD ’03) left the corporate world for a new adventure in academia. “I credit Pepperdine for giving me the confidence to leave Boeing and begin my dream of working in higher education,” said Ross.

After graduating from GSEP, Ross secured a job at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he serves as the director of academics for the Los Angeles-Metro campus. Then he took another leap, from academic to entrepreneur, when he started his own aviation and security consulting company, Patrick Ross & Associates, serving the United States, Europe, and Canada.

This year Ross, who researches high-altitude emissions, had a paper published in the online edition of Astropolitics, an international magazine following space politics and policy. “Limits on the Space Launch Market Related to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion” looked at the effects of rocket launching on the ozone, and discussed the economic implications of ozone depletion caused by rocket exhaust. For the first time, the economics of environmental regulations was coupled with the economics of space flight, addressing the issue of limits on the number of rocket launches and the return on investment of new rockets. The pioneering paper has already received attention from several international organizations.

Dr. Jack Zimmerman (EdD ’08) is also a risk taker. While some might look forward to relaxing after years of hard work as a senior executive with firms such as General Electric, Caterpillar, and Intel, Zimmerman decided to continue his education by earning his doctorate.

Dr. Jack Zimmerman

This Soon after, Zimmerman made a swift transition into teaching in the master’s in business administration program at the University of Southern Nevada. “This second career came about because of the sudden passing of my parents,” Zimmerman stated, explaining their dream for him to become an educator. Although he was successful in his first career, teaching would honor the memory of his parents. Zimmerman, encouraged by his parents, was the first in his family to graduate from college, before moving above and beyond to earn both his master’s and doctoral degrees.

Since graduating in 2008, Zimmerman has published several articles referencing his dissertation on entrepreneurship, one of which was awarded Best Paper at an academic conference. He is currently conducting research on how entrepreneurs can recognize and create new opportunities, and how to teach that skill to students. His most recent interest is entrepreneurship in large mature, or established organizations, such as corporations, educational institutions, and government organizations.

Zimmerman hopes to continue his research and teaching for as long as possible, and perhaps one day return to Southern California. However, before he comes back to his home state, he will complete a three-year professorship at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Learning Technologies

“Imagine a world with greater survival prospects for future generations, better educated children, equal opportunities for women, and a healthier environment. Now imagine that you are part of the solution.” This is how Dr. Lani Fraizer (EdD ’09) describes herself—a part of the solution.

Dr. Lani Fraizer

As founder and executive director of Synergies in Sync, a social enterprise dedicated to advancing economic opportunities for individuals through digital literacy, Fraizer works in partnership with other organizations to equip people with workforce skills and offer a chance for a better life. However, in addition to playing this important role, Fraizer is busy on the lecture circuit, inspiring her colleagues to use their technological expertise to support social welfare.

Traveling from GSEP’s hometown in Los Angeles, California, to Seoul, Korea, Fraizer purported that each person can make a difference in her presentation “Imagining Together and Extreme Inclusion: Using Technology to Solve the Toughest Problems in the World.” Fraizer presented this lecture again at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, held from September 30 to October 3 in Tucson, Arizona. “This session served as a forum for techno-social students, educators, and professionals to discuss strategies and technologies for social change,” Fraizer said. She was also recognized for receiving the 2009 Grace Hopper Women in Computing Scholarship.

Fraizer will next travel to Gottenheim, Germany, in November with professor of education Dr. June Schmieder-Ramirez, and professor of leadership Dr. Farzin Madjidi, to attend the International Journal of Arts and Sciences conference. She is looking forward to lecturing with the GSEP faculty on “Social Entrepreneurship Across Academic Disciplines,” and her doctoral dissertation titled “21st-Century Social- Change Makers and the Next Generation Social Entrepreneurs,” which explores the role of technology in the implementation of social solutions.

Rounding out her tour, Fraizer will come back home to speak with Madjidi on the “Next Generation Change Agents: What Is a Social Entrepreneur?” at the 32nd Annual Conference of the Society of Education and Scholars in Costa Mesa, California. Her final stop is the Paris International Conference on Education, Economy, and Society in July 2010, where she will discuss “Technology and Social Entrepreneurship in the Education Sector.”

“One of the things I aspire to accomplish is to impart an overall excitement about technology and digital literacy,” said Fraizer. “Technology can be a powerful catalyst for change and economic opportunity for students of any discipline, anywhere in the world.”

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