BEVERLY, Mass. – At the beginning of every month, Caity Lowry '16 (Quincy, Mass.) sits down and pulls out her calendar to organize her life. She needs to, otherwise chaos would ensue.
Day-to-day, Lowry's plate is full – to say the least – considering how she juggles Van Loan School graduate classes, is a member of the Endicott women's basketball coaching staff, and serves as a graduate assistant (GA) with Residence Life, all at the same time.
Oh, and if that's not enough, let's not forget the part-time job she also keeps on the side of all that.
"Caity's success is almost entirely derived from her pure commitment to her responsibilities and to the things she wants to do. She has a lot on her plate and has hardly missed a practice or game all year. She amazes me," said Endicott women's basketball head coach Brittany Hutchinson, who is in her sixth year at the helm of the program." The way she manages her time, prioritizes her jobs and the people in her life is really special."
A four-year member of the Gulls' program, Lowry graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Endicott in May 2016, but long before then she had laid the ground work for her future success.
"I decided I wanted to pursue my master's my junior year at Endicott," said Lowry. "I was an accounting undergraduate and felt as though I wanted to learn more than just the numbers side of business."
Hutchinson was not surprised by this forward thinking, whatsoever.
"It didn't take long for me to discover Caity's maturity, and even though she's grown tremendously in five years, she was always more mature and even a bit brighter than her teammates when it came to big picture stuff," said Hutchinson. "She's driven and values her education. Her undergraduate experience was so positive at Endicott that she really wanted to continue to be part of the community. In my conversations with her as a student-athlete, I was always impressed with her future plans and her plan of action."
That positive experience has continued for Lowry despite all the added responsibilities, post-graduation. Her Van Loan School graduate classes are difficult enough considering how accelerated the fifth-year, full-time extensive MBA program can be.
In Lowry's own words, this is what the program looks like:
"The program is very different from undergrad. There are three semesters; fall, winter, and spring. In the fall, you take one class a day from 8:30-12:30 PM, totaling five classes a week, four hours a day. In the winter, you only take two classes; one on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and the other on Tuesday/Thursday which is kind of like undergrad but they are four-hour long classes," said Lowry, then she further described the program.
"Then, the spring is the same as the fall with five more classes. You pick between a variety of classes offered on particular days to make your schedule. A lot of the professors are professional in what they are teaching so you get a ton of real-life situations and examples. We have a lot of guest speakers which are great for networking. Group work also is heavily a part of the program with full-semester projects that are presented at the end. Also, a big requirement is you must dress business casual every day to class which is very different from undergrad. Another offer this program has is a field-study which is like the internship model from undergrad, yet more extensive. Taking a field-study is not required, but it offers students a way to get even more real-life experience around the convenience of the program."
Meanwhile, the official Van Loan School definition goes a little like this:
The growing demand for high level degrees, combined with the satisfaction level of our undergraduate students, are the driving force behind the Van Loan School's fifth-year graduate programs. These programs are designed for Endicott Undergraduates and include a cost savings to Endicott Alumni for some programs.
By earning a master's degree with Endicott College's fifth-year programs a student can:
- Complete his/hers master's degree in less time than would be possible through normal sequential enrollment
- Significantly enhance earning potential while advancing skills and experience
- Learn about emerging trends in the field with relevant curriculum and experienced, current professors
- Save money, by taking some classes while in undergraduate school, and, in some cases, receiving a 20-percent tuition discount
In bringing the focus back to how this can affect a student-athlete at Endicott College, Hutchinson put it in simple terms.
"The Van Loan School graduate program is a topic I always broach with recruits and families. I know the school has been growing and I have enjoyed learning about the new opportunities for students when it comes to graduate programs and fifth-year students," said Hutchinson. "In the ever-changing market and economy, the continuing education is their key to success, especially when the program gives additional benefits to our students beyond the educational component."
Beyond those obvious benefits from partaking in the fifth-year opportunities at Endicott, Lowry also thought it'd be necessary for anyone looking into the Van Loan School to know the following.
"If you want it, do it, because it's another advantage you will have over several others when entering the work force," said Lowry. "The earlier you can make this decision in your time at Endicott, the better. The program may be challenging but the rewards far exceed the time and effort put in. It's a very unique program with how accelerated it is, but still has the same appeal as to why you chose Endicott in the first place; small class sizes, field-study, and of course, the beaches."
On the flip side, Coach Hutchinson may not take credit for Lowry's forward thinking, but the priority she puts on academics with her student-athletes once they enter the program is worthy of note too.
"I hold a minimum of three required academic-only 1-on-1 meetings with each player each year. Once at the beginning of September, again in January, and the last one around the end of March or beginning of April," said Hutchinson. "These meetings discuss current or upcoming class schedules, current, previous and goal GPAs, internship possibilities and plans, experiences in classes or meetings with tutors or professors, and post-graduation plans. It's an open dialogue and the purpose is just to be an involved party in their academic progress, be a sounding board, and an advocate for academic excellence in any way that I can. The winter and spring meetings with juniors are typically the most crucial. It's a pivotal time for them, and talking about the future can be daunting, but helpful."
As far as what Coach Hutchinson and Graduate Student/Assistant Coach/Residence Life GA Lowry have on their minds for the remainder of the winter it's pretty clear – guiding the women's basketball program through a playoff push. Endicott currently stands at 8-5 overall in conference play and is positioned to make a deep run.