She’s fashioning an inspiring example for her family
First in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies.
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
She has come a long way from the fears she had during her first residency for the Doctorate in Business Administration program.
Having jumped straight from her MBA, which she received from GCU in 2019, she needed time to adapt to the doctoral program. There were times during the residency when she felt as if she didn’t know what she was doing, but an instructor eased her emotions.
“There’s a difference between when you’re working with an instructor online and when you see them and they’re able to give you feedback and talk to you,” she said. “I was terrified. I was like ‘OK, maybe I should drop out or something,’ and I remember my professor saying, ‘Calm down, we’re going to work it through.’”
That first face-to-face interaction was all the encouragement Mukiza, 25, needed to push through the academic insecurities she was facing. It gave her a new perspective on the importance of residencies.
“Just having the human touch and just having someone break every single step kind of drew me back and made me like, ‘OK, maybe we can approach this,’” she said. “It made me love the program even more.”
Now, having completed her second residency last month, Mukiza is nearing the dissertation stage of her program and hopes to complete it by next spring. She plans to focus on how small businesses utilize social media to encourage customer engagement.
As a first-generation college graduate, she wants to set an example for her two younger siblings, one of whom is enrolled at GCU in the fall. Having emigrated to the United States at age 13 from Congo, in central Africa, where it is uncommon for women to pursue higher education, Mukiza also hopes that her impressive academic journey shows her family back home what women can accomplish.
“I’m a woman and I can do it,” she said. “I know my degree will have my name on it, but it kind of feels like a family achievement.
“At the end of the day, they’re the ones that call me and encourage me.”
It’s just one more thing for the former Miss Grand Canyon USA and current freelance creative director for fashion companies to add to her resumé. It’s all about being a role model and inspiring others while also advancing her career.
“I’ve always been interested in academia, and this gives me the blueprint to move forward with that,” she said. “It also doesn’t hurt that at work I’ll be able to get more promotions. This gives me a little push.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].