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Dr. Vern Christensen, Robin Christensen, Dane Christensen, Jacquelyn Christensen, Kylie Christensen

Robin Christensen became the first graduate with a master’s degree in women’s leadership from Mississippi University for Women.

Christensen participated in The W’s commencement ceremonies in December.

Founded in the fall of 2014, the program was established to provide a graduate program that offered research opportunities and educational exposure to leadership theory for students who had shown a commitment to improving the social, economic and public policies supporting women.

“I felt the multi-disciplinary courses and hands-on experience encouraged throughout the program would develop career-enhancing skills that could prepare me for future leadership and job opportunities. I believed that studying women’s leadership principles would empower me to help promote positive change for women in today’s world,” said Christensen.

Originally from Corona, Calif., Christensen received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Brigham Young University. In 1997, she moved to Amory with her family when her husband was recruited to now Merit Health Gilmore Memorial. In 2015, she began to research different post-graduate degree programs offered through universities in Mississippi.

“After my last child left for college, I began my search for a post-graduate program that ‘spoke to me’ among the universities close to home,” said Christensen. “From the program description, I felt it would be a good fit for my personality and schedule. I was impressed with the interdisciplinary description. I was excited to learn about women’s leadership theory, research methodology and practical skills.”

In the fall of 2015, Christensen enrolled at The W. She credits her fast track to graduation to the support and flexibility of the faculty and administration.

During her last semester, Christensen took grant writing skills. As part of her class, she chose to write a grant for a local area at-risk school, Aberdeen High School. With permission from school officials, she pursued a grant that was offered through CytoSport/Muscle Milk that would improve the tennis facilities and offer new equipment and uniforms for the tennis teams. In November 2016, Aberdeen High School received a check in the amount of $24, 950.

“Being able to connect a corporation willing to give back and a school in need of help was a rewarding experience and a highlight of my master’s program,” added Christensen. For the future, Christensen is weighing her options of either applying to law school or searching for further grant writing opportunities that will unite businesses with today’s youth. In the meantime, she said she looks forwarded to spending time with her new granddaughter.