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Alumni in Grad School Give Pointers on Success

October 3, 2019

As part of the Life on Tap series put on by the college’s career development office, alumni Jane and Luke Maschue (’18) and Tim Cook (’17) returned to campus on September 25 to speak to students about their experience in graduate school. They advised students on how to choose and apply for graduate programs and how to succeed academically at the graduate level.

Jane Maschue (’18) double majored in history and classics during her time at Christendom. Now, she is in her second year of a combined Masters/PhD program at the Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies at Catholic University. Her research focus is Medieval religion and intellectual life.

Luke Maschue (’18) majored in classics and minored in history at Christendom. Now, Luke is a student with the Department of Greek & Latin at the Catholic University of America, where he focuses on Medieval Latin poetry, Classical and Late Antique philosophy, and the intersection between the two. Luke and Jane were married in August of 2018 and welcomed their first child, Jude, this past July.

Tim Cook (’17) is Christendom’s men’s Residence Director and recently earned his Master’s in Theological Studies with concentrations in moral theology and evangelization and catechetics from Christendom’s Graduate School. Cook hopes to eventually teach and work in Catholic high school administration.

The Mashues spoke together on how to apply for graduate programs, and how to choose which program to pursue. They also gave practical advice on how to remain academically disciplined while pursuing a PhD.

Jane gave the students some advice about pursuing a graduate degree in the humanities.

“If you are doing well in school, you can transfer that hard work to just about anything,” she explained. “But if you are going to pursue a PhD, you need to have a really deep love of learning.”

Luke emphasized the importance of spending time with professors as an undergraduate student.

“One of the reasons I became interested in grad school was because of the professors at Christendom,” remarked Luke.

Jane and Luke both found professional mentors in the Christendom faculty. Not only did the professors at Christendom write letters of recommendation, but they offered great advice on the application process.

Christendom gave Jane and Luke a solid academic foundation to build upon. Their return to campus was a gracious way of paying it forward, as their guidance was very helpful to current students who are considering pursuing a career in academia.

Cook was able to give his perspective on earning a masters while working full time.

Cook attended the Christendom Graduate School based in Alexandria, VA, with classes conveniently offered online as well. He was able to complete his coursework online and at his own pace, giving him the flexibility to work while pursuing his degree, as opposed to the Mashues, who are full-time students.

According to Cook, it takes discipline to earn a masters while working, but his time at Christendom prepared him well for this challenge. His Christendom education gave him the intellectual habits of mind necessary to learn efficiently and grasp challenging material.

Cook hopes to eventually use his graduate degree to teach or work in Catholic school administration.

The next Life on Tap event will be on October 30th when Christendom welcomes back Zach Smith (’14) and Kayla Newcomb (’16) to speak on Social Media and Marketing.

You can watch the full talk with Jane and Luke Maschue and Tim Cook below.