The Center for Online and Distance Education interviewed Ms. Yoneko Allen, a student in the online Ed.D. in Educational Administration program.

Breifly share a little information about yourself.

I am a single mom of two (Zaylen,11 and Xiyael, 8). I am the proud daughter of Melvin and Gwen Allen and granddaughter of Charles Abrams. I have an older brother, Antonio, and a younger sister and brother, Lamoria and Lamont. I am also a proud aunt, niece, cousin, godmother and friend. I absolutely love my family. I am a professional school counselor and assistant athletic director at Laurens District 55 High School in Laurens, South Carolina. I live in Gray Court, South Carolina, which has been my hometown since my kindergarten days. I have a B.S.B.A. in business administration and law, B.S.B.A. in marketing, and a B.S. in sport management from Western Carolina University, and an M.Ed. with a specialization in school counseling from Liberty University. I have a certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business and a Career Development Facilitator certification from Midlands Technical University. I recently received my Ed.S. in educational administration from SC State University. I am a member of the illustrious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

What is the title of the online program in which you are enrolled at SC State?
Doctorate in Educational Administration (Ed.D.)

How did you find out about the online program and when did you start taking classes?

I began taking classes spring semester in 2020 for the Ed.S. (Educational Specialist degree in educational administration). I basically became a part of the program by happenstance due to SC State University’s response to the pandemic. The pandemic caused SC State University to offer courses online which led to the development of a completely online program that was just what I needed; for me it was truly beautifully orchestrated by God.  

What influenced your decision to enroll in the program at SC State?
I always wanted to be a part of and have a degree from a HBCU (Historically Black College and University), and I have always had a place in my heart for SC State University. My dad is a 1980 graduate of SC State University and would tell me all of the wonderful stories about being a “Bulldog.” He introduced me to the SC State culture by taking me on visits to football games and of course to the Homecoming Parade. I was a basketball athlete growing up and attended college (undergraduate) on a full ride basketball scholarship; however, I would always say if I did not play basketball, I would have definitely been a “Champagne Girl” at SC State University. Fast forward to 2019, Dr. Spell and some representatives from South Carolina State University, visited our district to recruit possible teachers. The superintendent at the time (Dr. Peters), asked me to attend, to find out about any possible post-graduate opportunities. I spoke with Dr. Spell about my interests of obtaining my Ed.S. and Ed.D. He instructed me of everything I needed to do to begin taking classes at SC State University. I enrolled and started my classes in the spring of 2020. I was blessed due to the pandemic I could now attend classes virtually or online instead of driving to campus. Once I began taking courses in the program and experienced the rich discussions and rigorous yet relevant class material, I was hooked. I knew I would continue the program. I have such wonderful professors. I have no problem calling any of the professors I have had or currently have and asking their opinion or advice on a major decision. They are so open and authentic that sometimes I may call or text a professor to simply check and see how he or she is doing and how their families are doing. The professors and the friendships with classmates definitely helped seal the deal. I can’t forget to mention how Dr. Mack has been there to encourage me along the way, as well as how he and Mrs. Russell have been there to guide me through the required processes and course scheduling necessary to help me successfully complete the program. 

How will this program help you achieve your career goals?
As I strive to educate, serve and uplift others this program has helped me to get a step closer to achieving my career goals. First, it has provided me with the information needed to become certified in administration. Secondly, this program has allowed me to network, acquire mentors and develop relationships that have opened doors to new career opportunities. Overall, the online Educational Administration Program (Ed.S. and Ed.D.) is providing me with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties and responsibilities required to successfully attain and perform a position in administration on the building, district and state level, as well as within an institution of higher education. 

How has the online availability of the program helped you in terms of your personal life?
I view South Carolina State’s online program as a gift from God; it has definitely been a blessing for me. I really wanted to begin working on my Ed.S. (educational specialist degree) in educational administration and then go on to pursue my doctorate degree; however, I had to figure out how I would manage and balance all that makes up my life, while driving back and forth to campus. You see, as stated before I am a single mom. Both of my children are actively involved in school as well as afterschool activities. Being a devoted daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, aunt, cousin, friend, etc. means I am typically helping someone with something which requires my time and many times for me to be in various locations. Furthermore, as a professional school counselor and assistant athletic director at a fairly large high school, a sponsor of club/team(s), sports coach for the recreational center and travel basketball organization(s), involved church member, and community organizations’ founder and member, my calendar is usually always booked with activities and/or engagements. The online program has allowed me to be more flexible with where I can attend class. I can now take my son to football practice and attend class while I wait for him to complete practice, or take my grandpa to a doctor’s appointment and listen and interact in my class from the comfort of my car or a waiting room and not miss a beat. Again, this program is truly a blessing, and it aligns perfectly with numerous details of my life. 

What advice would you offer to others who are considering enrolling in the program?
I advise those who are considering enrolling in the program to enroll now. Everyone involved in the process and who are on staff collaborate to ensure that you have the resources necessary to be successful. As I stated previously, once you enroll you automatically join the SC State family. From financial aid to registration, etc. — all departments work together for you. One you enroll, I advise you to actively engage in your course discussions and build rapport and relationships with your fellow classmates as well as your professors and the guest speakers that you encounter. They all are willing to assist you and offer you their advice. You will have many networking opportunities and will make some lifelong mentors and friends. I am acquiring a high quality education and gaining valuable information that is useful to me now in my career and is transferable to any career I may have. Our professors’ experience combined with their knowledge is showcased through the in-depth assignments, projects, discussions, etc. They each have their own unique way of bringing the curriculum to life; allowing us to learn, retain, and apply what is being taught. I am more than confident that I will be prepared to face the challenges that will be presented and fulfill the obligations that are required of an educational leader. My classmates and I are being prepared to serve and to become the driving force behind transformational change. We are learning how to shape and evaluate policies that will lead to more effective and diverse practices in our field. We will be the leaders of a culturally relevant educational system and society. We will make a positive impact that will stretch across the globe.  

For more information about the online doctorate in Educational Administration program at SC State University, visit: .