Whether working as a youth minister, sportswriter, teacher or coach, Luke Boyd is all about helping others succeed.
"I have always loved working with kids," he said. "My dad, my cousins and my aunts were all teachers, so I have a strong background in it."
In August of 2020, Boyd enrolled in the online Master of Education in School Counseling program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. His own challenges as a college student inspired him to pursue a helping profession.
"With the knowledge I gain from the program I can help students who are struggling the way I did," he said.
Boyd is a high school English teacher and assistant middle school baseball coach at Bennington Public Schools, a few miles from the Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus.
"Without the online format, there is no way I could have done it," he said. "Because I am a coach as well, my days are long. This program is very flexible.
"The coursework is structured in a way that is manageable throughout your week. You know what to expect for the whole seven weeks. Everything is laid out for you, so you know about your big assignments. It helps you plan out your semester."
Faculty members like Dr. Kathy McDonald, who has worked as a private and school counselor, helped persuade Boyd to earn a degree online — a decision he does not regret.
"The professors are all over the country and working in this field," he said. "I learned a lot from their experience to use in my own school. It's been great, so far."
Up for the Challenge
Boyd is from Tipton, Oklahoma, where he grew up playing football, basketball and baseball. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in general studies from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2019.
He worked as the post-op care coordinator for ClearSight LASIK in Oklahoma City for eight years before he became a teacher. After writing freelance for LBC Communications in OKC for more than six years, he taught in the classroom for two. Then, he knew it was the right time to return to college.
"I knew I wanted to work with kids," he said. "Being a teacher allows me to do that. I had been a sportswriter for a while, so I knew I liked writing and language. That fit together pretty well with teaching English."
Since enrolling in the online M.Ed. in School Counseling program, Boyd has been preparing to switch from a role in the classroom to assisting students on a more personal level in counseling.
So far, Psychopathology and Treatment Planning in Counseling has been his favorite course in the program. He enjoyed the process of diagnosing patient conditions based on symptoms.
"You go into the manual and find what illness they have. That was fun," he said.
Boyd believes that the information he is learning in the program is laying a solid foundation for the next chapter of his career history.
"I absolutely believe that the M.Ed. in School Counseling program is preparing me to find a job in the field upon graduation," he said.
Boyd looks forward to learning more in the rest of the program and attending commencement to walk the graduation stage in May 2022.
"My family and friends are very encouraging and excited," he said. "I want to be a counselor at both the high school and college level."
Now that Boyd has some experience as an online student, he believes organization and time management are of the utmost importance to succeed.
"The biggest thing is to stay ahead of everything and have a plan," he said. "Look at the syllabus. I took one class the first semester to see what the work level would be. The next time, I took two classes. I figured out with the first one how much time I had to do the work."
Boyd also said that communicating with the faculty members has helped him tremendously.
"They are very helpful and want you to succeed. As long as you talk to them and they know who you are, they are going to help you. They are very responsive. Dr. McDonald is great. She and I talk to each other all the time. She helps me with courses she isn't even teaching," said Boyd, noting that course instructor Tammy Crow was very helpful, too.
Although Boyd is eager to become a counselor, he is still a writer at heart. His first novel is in editing. He also enjoys mountain biking in his free time and is glad that the online program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University allows him to still pursue those interests.
"It's been a great program and a good value," he said. "It's been a good fit for me."
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