News & Features

Communication is Key for OPTIONS Grad Student

 
*This story appeared in the St. Louis American, June 23, 2011.*

One of the key concepts that Melissa Thames is taking away from her graduate education is arguably one of the most important things to know in life – how to effectively communicate with others.  Communication is a two-way street that can be difficult to master.

“I learned that it’s not so much what you’re saying as how others perceive it.  It’s all about their perception and how they receive the message.  And that’s vital to know because it affects your employees attitude and how they’ll get their job done,” she said with confidence.
 
Thames is nearing completion of her master of management degree with Fontbonne University OPTIONS and the last class date circled on her calendar is July 28, 2011.  She was quick to ensure that she didn’t convey the wrong idea about school because she’s enjoyed the challenges.
 
But Thames has been focused on her education for almost eight years.  After high school, she spent one year at University of Missouri – Columbia, then returned home to earn an associates degree at St. Louis Community College.

Transferring a strong foundation of credits into the OPTIONS bachelor’s in organizational studies program allowed her to concentrate on business core courses.  Graduating in May 2010 and barely taking a breath, Thames began tackling her master’s degree just one month later.  “I was afraid if I took any more time off, that I wouldn’t get started,” she chuckled.
 
“I knew a master’s would help me fulfill more qualifications to seek better jobs and advance my career.” she said.  “And the organizational studies degree confirmed that I wanted to be involved with HR and management.  Because of my wonderful experience with undergrad, it just made sense to continue with Fontbonne’s master’s of management.”
 
Throughout her graduate education, Thames has grown both academically and personally, striving for a high grade point average and valuing her personal accomplishments.  She’s become more independent, noting that instructors have high expectations and students are responsible to grasp concepts faster.
 
Thames takes two courses every eight weeks but added it’s not for everyone.  “Good time management skills help me juggle my schedule.  I created a calendar marking out my work time, class time, and study time. What’s left over is my free time.”
 
Earning her master’s will also put Thames one step closer to becoming certified as a Professional Human Resource (PHR) through The Society for Human Resource Management.

Currently she works for Deer Valley Home Health Services as a human resource administrator.
“My education assisted me in obtaining my current job,” she said.  “I feel very fortunate because a position like this usually requires more experience in the human resource field.  There’s a career path here and I want to continue learning as much as I can.”
 
Planning and perseverance have led to success for Thames.  “Anything that’s worth having, you have to work hard for, but you’re going to value it even more once you obtain it.”

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