When Lissa Young, Ed.M.’09, Ed.D.’13, arrived at HGSE in 2007, she couldn’t have predicted that her 20 years of military experience would come in handy at graduation. But the doctoral marshal jokes that she must have been selected for the honor based on her marching abilities alone. “I am just floored. This is such an honor, and I will do my best to live up to it, and reflect the depth of character and richness of perspectives at HGSE,” she says. “I will execute my duties in a way that makes us all proud.”
When looking at doctoral programs, Young chose the Ed School due to its commitment to working at the nexus of practice, policy, and research. “This made me realize that there was an opportunity to become a scholar without having to give up my ability to practice,” she says. “My commitment is to continue in that tradition, and make new knowledge actionable within the context of living organizations.”
Young shared some of her thoughts on her time at HGSE and the future.
How did you stay inspired throughout the doctoral process? HGSE has the most incredibly generative culture — the faculty, the research, the connection to policymakers and education leaders, the programming, the students....There is so much going on all the time — I found sustenance and inspiration at every turn. In addition, my cohort and my writing group were such amazing resources for wit and wisdom.
Any advice for students who want to take on doctoral studies? Do it. And give it all you’ve got. It is an incredibly challenging and satisfying personal and professional developmental experience. And now that HGSE will be offering a Ph.D., there is no longer a potentially difficult trade off for scholars who want to go into academe.
What was the focus of your dissertation? High performance teams, and the impact that stereotyping and prejudice has on their performance
I’m fascinated by the social psychology of organizations and their teams. I have always been interested in high-performing teams, because I spent so many years as a leader and a team member in aviation units in the Army.
What are your post-graduation plans? The tentative job plan is to return to the faculty of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point.
The summer plan is to go to Africa and visit friends in Malawi, Swaziland, and Ghana, and then ride my Harley to Cabo San Lucas and back, and then work at a friend’s rum distillery in Ipswich, Mass.
How will you make an impact on the world of education? I plan to develop young leaders who have the capability, compassion, and courage to create and lead sustainable change in the institutions responsible for generating optimal conditions for learning and teaching, research and practice. I will devote myself to inspiring and developing a depth of humanity in each of the soldier-scholars for whom I will be responsible at the United States Military Academy. Scholars have a duty to bring to bear the best kind of thinking in matters of war, and I will do my best to uphold that tradition. The difference I can make in a cadet’s way of being will manifest with his or her own soldiers in peace and in war. My purpose is to help those young officers become better people. To that I will devote my academic career. That will be my legacy.