Curriculum and Adult Learning Alumna Appointed Instructional Designer at Columbia University Alumni Profile
Meet Cassandra Scannella
- Job Title & Employer
- Instructional Designer, Columbia University in the City of New York, School of Professional Studies
- Curriculum & Instruction-M.A.
- December 2016
- Scranton, Pa.
- Now Living In
- Stamford, Conn.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Traveling, outdoor activities and a diehard New York Yankees baseball fan!
"Being that this graduate program focused on adult learning theories, the classes provided the foundations and research that I use in my job as an instructional designer every day. The rigor of Point Park's program, along with the dedicated faculty, helped guide me in this field and to the successful career that I have today."
What factors made you choose Point Park University for graduate school?
When I decided I wanted to go back to school to pursue my master’s degree, I spent about a year extensively researching local colleges and universities in the Pittsburgh area. I knew that I wanted to be involved in higher education, but I didn’t know any further details at the time. I made many phone calls, attended info sessions and continued to conduct my research and due diligence throughout that year.
When I came across Point Park University’s curriculum and instruction program, I decided to attend a dinner/info session that was being offered to attract prospective graduate students. During the dinner, I sat at a table with some faculty from the program, including Dr. Vincenne Revilla-Beltrán. That evening was when I met Dr. Revilla for the first time. We had a great conversation about my personal goals and how the program at Point Park may be the perfect fit.
Leaving that dinner, I felt very confident that I could, in fact, succeed and fulfill the personal goals I outlined for my future. I also learned that, at the time, the program was going to be offered online which was exactly what I was looking for due to the fact that I had a full-time job. That conversation with Dr. Revilla set Point Park’s program far apart from the others and that was ultimately when I made my decision to apply to Point Park University.
How have your curriculum and instruction and adult learning and training classes helped you as an instructional designer?
The courses and curriculum that Point Park provided helped me prepare greatly for this career. When I started the program, I knew I wanted a career in higher education, but needed to find my niche. When it came time for my practicum, the instructor I had served as a mentor for me. After several discussions, I decided to intern with her team of instructional designers at the University of Pittsburgh. There, I learned a great deal about the field and found the connection between what I was learning in my classes and the instructional design field.
Being that this graduate program focused on adult learning theories, the classes provided the foundations and research that I use in my job as an instructional designer every day. The rigor of Point Park's program, along with the dedicated faculty, helped guide me in this field and to the successful career that I have today.
What are your favorite Point Park memories?
One of my very favorite memories from my time at Point Park were my in-person meetings with Dr. Revilla. I was working in Downtown Pittsburgh at the time, not far from Point Park. Even though I was taking online courses, there was still a part of me that missed that face-to-face time. So, I would schedule regular office hours with Dr. Revilla, and would either go meet with her in her office during my lunch breaks or after work. She was always happy to meet with me in person, which I very much enjoyed. We would discuss assignments, courses, personal/professional goals and so on.
Meeting with Dr. Revilla in person made me feel connected to the Point Park community. Having those in-person meetings provided the opportunity to establish that personal connection. These were times I truly valued and conversations I still remember to this day.
How did our faculty impact you?
The faculty at Point Park were always available and eager to help. Dr. Revilla, who was also my advisor, was always there to offer guidance and support. Like I previously mentioned, even though I was an online student, I would still go to meet with her in person whether it was to discuss a specific assignment within a course, or just to chat about my progress and future plans and goals. From the very first time I met Dr. Revilla at the dinner/info session, I knew that I was not only going to learn a great deal, but her advice, expertise and lessons would be invaluable to both my personal and professional goals.
I also had the privilege to meet Dr. Barbara Frey, as she was the one who helped me find my niche in instructional design by offering me the opportunity to intern for her team at the University of Pittsburgh. After I graduated from Point Park in December 2016, Dr. Revilla introduced me to a fellow Point Park graduate who I ended up doing some consulting work for as an online course designer. If it weren’t for the faculty and connections that I made at Point Park, I can honestly say that I would not be where I am in my career today. I still keep in touch with Dr. Revilla, as we stay in touch via LinkedIn and email. Again, I am very appreciative for the connections that I made with the faculty at Point Park.
What advice do you have for our adult learning and training and curriculum and instruction students?
My advice would be simply this: Take advantage of the valuable resources that you will have in your faculty and advisor and utilize the office hours that are offered. The faculty at Point Park are eager and readily available to assist you throughout your journey. Take the time to get to know your faculty and schedule office hours, whether virtual or in person. It is because of the guidance and support that I received from my advisor and faculty that I am where I am today.
Also, network with your peers. Everyone is coming to the program with unique experiences and you will always find opportunities to learn from one and another. The small class sizes allow for rich collaborative experiences. I am very proud that I chose to attend Point Park.