Mother and daughter team up at Logan University to earn doctoral degrees


When it comes to a bucket list, some people think of skydiving or traveling the world, but for some, it is earning a doctoral degree.

Thanks to Logan University’s Doctorate of Health Professions Education (DHPE) program, Maurya Cockrell will soon be able to cross that off her list.

“I didn’t want to settle on just any program; rather, I wanted to find something that combined my love of health care, education, and training and development,” said Maurya. “Logan is one of the few universities in the U.S. that has a curriculum like this, and it’s really quite exceptional.”

But Maurya wasn’t the only one in her family to find the program exceptional. Her mother Vivian had similar ideas. “As I listened to her speak about the uniqueness of the degree program and the great opportunities it would give her as a health care professional, I became excited and interested,” Vivian said. “She reminded me of my own aspiration to earn a doctorate degree, and one night at the dinner table, I said, ‘I think I’ll join you’—and then I did!”

Both passionate about a future in technology, health care and education, the mother-daughter duo began the program together in January 2017.

“Never in a million years did I think we’d be classmates,” said Maurya. “It truly is a beautiful and rewarding experience. A journey I feel blessed to travel on,” replied Vivian.

While the mother and daughter share many of the same passions and interests, their backgrounds in academia and health care have given each of them different experiences.

Having served as a school principal and district administrator, Vivian is now a speech and language pathologist for St. Louis Public Schools. In returning to the other side of the desk in an environment that allows her to learn through the eyes of today’s millennial health professional, Vivian feels the DHPE will improve her skills as an educator and give her insight into how the upcoming generation thinks.

“Sometimes I feel like Maurya and I are switching roles,” Vivian said. “She is teaching me instead of me teaching her, always bringing a fresh perspective to the table.”

The DHPE, which was launched in 2015, provides health professionals with a foundation in academic leadership, education technology, research, statistics, curriculum development, delivery and assessment to be educators in their chosen health field.

Since completing their first trimester, Maurya has used the knowledge gained through her first few classes to improve the ethics education at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where she works as a project ethics/clinical pastoral education administrator. She is also applying her new knowledge toward revamping the training curriculum for YKNOT Consulting LLC, a human resources development company.

From conversations about interdisciplinary teamwork and adult learning theories, to comparing exam scores for a bit of friendly competition, the two keep each other motivated and engaged in the learning process. They also play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“She teaches me the educational theories,” Maurya said. “And Maurya teaches me about how her generation learns and the innerworkings of a hospital. We really complement each other quite well,” said Vivian.

The Cockrells plan to add “doctor” to their names by 2020. At that time, Vivian hopes to teach a health professions course at a university. She also plans to design a professional development program for health care professionals that addresses interdisciplinary health care teams, a passion she shares with her daughter, who is always looking for new ways to connect the hospital and chiropractic industries.

In the meantime, the two hope to become more involved at Logan and are especially interested in starting an interdisciplinary study group.

“We’re always talking about what mark we want to make on Logan and health care education,” said Maurya. “It’s such a groundbreaking program, and we’re really looking forward to what is coming in the future and how we can be a part of it.”

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