MA in Liberal Studies

Jani with book

Success Stories

Jani Hale (graduated 2019)

When she applied to MALS in 2016, Jani had just finished her Sociology degree at Lehman and had previously worked in real estate and foster care. Since graduating, she has moved to North Carolina and now works as an administrative specialist at Duke University. Jani is also a published poet, whose book Distant Voices: A Collection of American Poetry, appeared in 2022. 

MALS: What motivated you to apply for Lehman’s MA program in Liberal Studies? 
Jani: To be honest the first thing that attracted me to Lehman MALS program was the price point. I researched accredited masters programs across the country, even international, and there was no other option that included the areas I wanted to study for reasonable tuition costs.

MALS: Who has inspired you or helped make your journey at Lehman a success? 

Jani: The advisor I chose was Dr. Tim Alborn who guided me through each semester, providing academic support and trusted resources to help with some personal difficulties I was having. He, along with Prof. Anne Rice, inspired me to complete the program from admission to graduation. They both played a key role in me writing my first book.

MALS: Describe your capstone—how did it connect to your work/life outside of the program?  

Jani: I worked in the foster care industry for 10 years as a case manager and saw the affects the School-To-Prison-Pipeline (STPP) had on the adolescents in my roster. So I wanted to focus my capstone on ways to eradicate the negative narrative of academic tracking.  

MALS: How has MALS helped you achieve your goals since graduating?
Jani: Oh wow, where to start? Firstly, graduating from the MALS program at Lehman gave me the confidence to not just sit at the table, for decision-making standards, but also contribute and be heard. Secondly, the MALS program instilled in me the practice of thinking broadly, considering all educational angles to study that include a scientific, geographical, and moral point of view.

MALS: What do you think other people should know about MALS and Lehman?
Jani: I think people should know that obtaining a graduate degree is not easy, but when they join the MALS program you are supported by a team of advocates who’s #1 aim is your academic and professional growth.

MALS: What advice would you give to current or prospective MA students? 
My advice would be to try it, just one semester, see if it’s the right fit. And for those enrolled, don’t quit! The reward is far greater than the sacrifice.

MALS: Is there anything else you would like to share? 
Jani: I learned so much as a graduate student in the Lehman MALS program. It was serendipity that I missed the deadline for School of Social Work, but I’m glad I did. The MALS program allowed me to have a work/school/life balance that I don’t think other programs extended.