Alumni Spotlight

Michelle Carswell
“Time goes fast. Decide what you want from your graduate degree, and just do it.” Michele Carswell recently graduated from Tarleton’s master’s program in Nursing Education, and joined the faculty as an instructor in the Nursing Department.

Originally from Fort Worth, Michele Carswell came to Tarleton in 2003 as an undergraduate student. She graduated in December of 2007 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree.  With work experience in medsurg nursing, as well as emergency room, Michele found her way back to Tarleton when she took a job in the Center for Clinical Simulation and Competency (CCSC). Her career and lab experience ultimately inspired her to pursue her master’s degree in Nursing Education from Tarleton, which she completed in December of 2016.

Michele is now a member of the faculty in the Nursing Department.  She teaches Care of the Older Adult, RN-BSN on the Fort Worth Campus, Pharmacology & Pathophysiology RN-BSN on the Fort Worth Campus, and Foundations lab/clinical. Married for nearly ten years, Michele has two children and likes arts, crafts, and outdoor activities such as biking and running.

Learn more about Michele Carswell and her graduate student experience in the following conversation. 

COGS: Why did you choose Tarleton to pursue your master’s degree?

MC:  Tarleton’s master’s program was a hybrid, which means you can be in class half of the time and online the rest.  Since it had been so long since I had been in school, I thought that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to just do the courses online. Tarleton’s program had a little more to offer, and I felt that I would get more out of it if I had someone I could come face to face with and speak to, as well as ask questions. In my learning process, especially as an adult student, I wanted to be able to have that contact if I didn’t understand something and needed help.

COGS: How did you balance school, work, and other obligations such as family?

MC: It was hard!  It was also really helpful to have a support team. My family was really good to me. My mom and my husband were there to watch the kids when I needed days away to study and work on papers. You have to have the discipline to find the time to study and work on stuff, which was often when the kids were in bed.  

Working for Tarleton was great because they worked with me. Most of the classes fell on Fridays when I was already here for my job, and I already had child care those days. I had to make sure I made up my time anytime I was in class or doing school work, but it was really helpful. 

COGS: How did the MSN program help you to transition into your career?

MC: Being a grad student at Tarleton and knowing I wanted to pursue a job within the same department was extremely helpful because I got to work a lot with faculty. I got to know people and their roles. Moving into this position was easier because I already knew a base level of how things work and what was expected.

COGS: What advice would you have for someone going through the grad school search and admissions process?

MC: Time goes so fast! I didn’t think it would happen when I signed up, I thought ‘there is no way I am going to graduate in two years’, and ‘it’s too far away’. Now it has come and gone, and flew by faster than I realized.

My advice is to determine what you want out of the program, and then know that you can do it as long as you discipline yourself. I got pregnant during the program, and I had a baby during the program. If I can do it, you can do it as long as it is something you want and you have that goal in mind. If you want to do it, and you know you do, just sign up for it.

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