Master in Education Alumni & Student Profiles


Alumnus: Tyler Habiger

Degree: Master in Education – Human Services
Graduation: 2016
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor's in American Political Studies & Theatre from Drury University, 2013
Profession: Mail Campaign Coordinator, KU Endowment Association in Lawrence, KS

Notable professional accomplishments: Served as field director of Mike Parson’s successful campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Missouri (won 110 of 114 counties) in 2016 and appointed first director of communications from 2016-2017. Mike Parson's news releases were published across the United States and internationally.

How has your Master in Education degree prepared you for your current professional role?

The great benefit of a Drury M.Ed. is it gave me a wide breadth of knowledge and skills I have applied to my various job experiences. We live in a society where people of my generation are called upon to know a little bit about everything, and serve in roles we may not have envisioned as students. Drury recognizes this, and works hard to prepare us for all kinds of scenarios by giving us the writing and critical thinking skills we need to be successful.

What courses were especially useful to you?

Several that were useful to me included Educational Psychology & Assessment and Leadership Techniques. A knowledge of basic human behavior is useful no matter what career you pursue, and as I grow in my current role and become a leader I can always look back on the texts and insights I learned in Leadership Techniques.

What skill do you believe is most critical for today’s teachers?

As someone who has taught high school, collegiate, and adult students, I can say with certainty that educators must be flexible with their teaching. Every student and class is different, and we as educators must work with our students to help them acquire the knowledge and skills we are trying to impart. I have never believed in a one size fits all pedagogy for education, and that is why I am grateful to Drury for always offering another solution for a problem I was having with a student or in my own studies.

What did you gain from the Master in Education program?

I owe a great deal to Drury’s M.Ed. program for giving me an advanced skillset of critical thinking and concise writing skills. They were useful as I helped craft the message of Mike Parson’s successful campaign for Lieutenant Governor, when I served as his Director of Communications in the Lt. Governor’s Office. My current role at KU Endowment has me working with individuals and departments across campus and managing multiple projects simultaneously to raise funds for the university.

What were your favorite memories from your time in the M.Ed. program?

I was grateful to the faculty for always being accessible. My advising sessions with Dr. Laurie Edmondson and Dr. Rebecca Denton were particularly helpful, and helped me craft the best plan possible for my time as a student and now as a professional.

What advice would you give to teachers who are considering a master’s program?

If you feel you are ready for the next step in your career as an educator or a professional, choose Drury’s M.Ed. program. Everything I do in my career is to ensure the next generation of leaders have the tools needed to be successful. Drury imparted that passion to me, and I know they will help any student realize their potential.

What professional resources that you would recommend?

Your peers are your best resource. Make connections, go to the office happy hours, never throw away a business card or burn a bridge. You never know who you will need one day for help or assistance. It really is a small world after all.

Anything else on your mind? Please share:

The time I spent on campus was truly life-altering, and I hope I am doing my alma mater proud out in the real world.


Student: Vance Marlow

Degree: Master in Education – Instructional Technology 
Projected Graduation: 2018
Undergraduate Degree: Drury in Enviornmental Science 
Profession: Apple Certified Mac Technician, Database Systems 

What do you do in your current professional position and where do you plan to go after you complete your degree?

I do service and support for Apple products, both hardware and software. Anything that is wrong with your Apple products, I can usually fix. The other thing that I do is coordinate and teach training seminars for Mac software and products.

Post-graduation, I am looking at different policy research institutes and teach abroad programs.

How has your experience in the M.Ed. program has changed your approach to working with students?

I now have a deeper understanding of the role of technology in people’s everyday lives. I am better able to break down what people need to know and how best to provide them with the essential information. Coming from a science background, I didn’t really have a good grasp on educational structure, techniques, and philosophies. I now understand the importance of explaining why you need to be able to do a particular task, rather than just explaining how to do the task.

Why did you choose Drury University?

One of the reasons why I chose Drury was because I had such a good experience as an undergraduate. I knew I was going to get the education I needed in order to pursue my goals professionally. The School of Education and Child Development has a great reputation in the area, so it just felt right.

What surprised you the most about Drury’s M.Ed. program?

One of the things that surprised me the most, especially since my degree is technology based, is the the number of psychological development classes in my program and how much that knowledge can play a role in developing effective technology curriculum.

What class was your favorite?

So far my favorite class would have to be the History of Security and Ethics in Technology with Dr. Cosgrove. It definitely gives you a better appreciation of what you need to keep in mind when you are dealing with technology, such as information security and the ethical dimensions of decision-making processes when dealing with student information.

How was your experience as a master’s student?

I have had a really good experience as a master’s student at Drury. Not only has the course work been academically stimulating, but the scheduling has been very flexible and easily integrated in with my work schedule. It is a great combination of flexibility and rigor that you would want out of a master’s program.

What advice you would give prospective students?

Just do it. I started out with my master’s emphasis in elementary curriculum and instruction. Fortunately, there was enough overlap in the very beginning that you can get good feel for what you think is going to best fit your needs and goals. If you are thinking about it, just do it…you are going to get a lot out of it.


Alumnus: Kyle Templeton

Profession: 7th Grade Social Studies teacher at Ozark Junior High School
Graduation Year: 2014
Degree: M.Ed. Instructional Technology

Kyle Templeton

What difference has earning your Master in Education degree made to your life?

As a teacher, the instant impact of completing my Master's degree was getting a nice bump up the pay scale. While I am still teaching, I have opened up a lot of opportunities that were unavailable to me before. I have the option of staying in the field of public education or I can move into the private sector if I choose. In the education field, a Master's degree is a must in order to advance your career. My resume is much more marketable now than it was before my Master's degree from Drury.

How has your time at Drury changed you?

My time at Drury reenergized me as a teacher. I was able to apply the things I learned in class in my own classroom. My co-workers view me as someone that can be an asset when it comes to instructional technology. It has made me more confident in my own abilities as well. More than anything, it has caused me to set higher career goals. I have aspirations of being a leader in my field in the future.


Alumna: Nacy Thornsberry

Profession: CSS (communication, sensory and socialization) district program teacher for Springfield Public Schools.
Graduation Year: 2011
Degree: M.Ed. Special Education

Nacy ThornsberryHave you been awarded any accolades since you graduated from Drury?

In the spring of 2015 I was chosen to present at the Missouri Council for Exceptional Children State Conference--titled, “A Day in an Autism Classroom: Evidence-Based Practices That Work”. It is a passion of mine to educate how capable and intelligent our students are and to give others (teachers, parents, students) the tools to be as successful as possible.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for admission to one of Drury¹s M.Ed programs?

When you are in school it is easy to treat each paper, assignment, test, presentation like it is the end of your social life as you know it.  In reality I still use projects that I made at Drury with my students today.  Put the work in and you will see amazing results with your students.  Make it a meaningful experience and you will get so much out of it, opposed to just going through the motions. 


Alumna: Betsy Cannella

Profession: Teacher at Glendale High School
Graduation Years: 2006, 2008, 2010
Degree: Master in Education and Gifted Certification

Betsy Cannella studied architecture at Drury before going on to earn her Master in Education degree in 2008. She was certified in Gifted Education in 2010 and is now a Project Lead The Way teacher at Glendale High School in Springfield, Missouri. Betsy credits the supportive, caring atmosphere of Drury University as the most important influence on her teaching approach. Winning Drury University’s Sharon Price Alumni Award was a recent highlight of Betsy’s career, awarded for her exemplary professionalism and leadership in the field of education. 

When telling others about her time at Drury, Betsy puts emphasis on the personalized approach that makes the Drury difference: "You will be treated like a real person and not a number. You will gain experiences that most other universities do not offer."


Alumna: Lindsey Gathright

Profession: Teacher at Phelps Center for Gifted Education
Graduation Years: 
2009 and 2015
Degree: 
Bachelor's in Elementary Education & Master's in Gifted Education

Describe your current professional role.

I am the first grade teacher at the Phelps Center for Gifted Education (WINGS).

Which program were you in at Drury, and when did you graduate?

I graduated in 2009 with my Bachelor's in Elementary Education, and I completed my Master's in Gifted Education in 2015.

What was the most valuable part of completing your degree at Drury that you don¹t think you would have experienced somewhere else?

I chose Drury due to its small class sizes and study abroad programs, and I know those two things made my college experience one of a kind. During my time at Drury, I had the opportunity to get to know my professors and I felt like they knew me. I wasn’t just another student passing through, but someone they took the time to get to know in order to help me grow as a teacher and as a person. I don’t think just any professor would invite a group of students over to his house for a night of international cuisine. My junior year I had the opportunity to live in London for a semester, which was the greatest part of my undergraduate experience. Traveling during college was one of the best decisions I made because I was able to continue my studies while living abroad. While completing my graduate degree, most of my classes were offered online. This made balancing my first year teaching, a newborn, and completing a master's degree so much easier.

What difference has earning your Drury degree made to your life?

Drury was the only University in the area that offered a graduate program for gifted education. With my Master's in Gifted Education I am able to be a part of an amazing program, and I go to work every day doing something I absolutely love.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Drury?

Most of my favorite memories revolve around the people I met while attending Drury. I made some of my best friends while in college. Many of my favorite memories also come from my time living in London, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to study abroad while in college.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for admission to one of Drury's programs?

My advice to those who are applying to Drury is to be yourself. At Drury I was able to find my own voice, and my original ideas have greatly benefited my career. I would also encourage those who plan to apply to any type of education program to get some classroom experience.

How has your time at Drury changed you?

My time at Drury changed me in so many ways. It was my first time living on my own and I learned how to balance classes, friendships, and part time jobs. I became a responsible, committed, and globally aware person.


Student: Brooke Smith

Profession: Teacher of English and Social Studies at Rolla Middle School
Graduation Years: 
2015 and 2018
Degree: 
Bachelor's in Elementary Education & Master in Education 

Why did you choose Drury University to get your M.Ed. degree?

I chose Drury because their program has a flexible schedule that allows me to further my education and achieve my goals while completing my master’s degree. I live in Rolla, Missouri, which is almost two hours from the main campus, making online classes essential.

What has been one of your favorite classes?

My favorite class so far has been Educational Technology. I learned how to use Google Sites, Canvas, and imaging websites within my classroom. Drury has given me the confidence to seamlessly blend technology into my instruction.

Describe your experience as a master’s student at Drury University:

Drury has pushed me to become a better student and teacher. They helped me become a better teacher by introducing me to technological tools and strategies that can be used in my classroom to help my students learn 21st century skills.

What advice you would give students currently contemplating Drury’s M.Ed. program?

I would definitely recommend Drury University. It has been a wonderful experience that has allowed me to obtain my degree completely online. Without this program, I would have never been able to study Instructional Math and Science practices. These two subjects are my passion, and I am so blessed to be able to further my educational experience in these areas. This was a dream come true that has allowed me to achieve my goals.