Leanna Mullen of Mullica Township is a senior at Stockton University, but it wasn’t easy. Her genetic disorder, Gaucher Disease, forced her to take a hiatus from school during the first semester of her junior year in 2009. Through the help of the Stockton ReEnroll Adult Learners (REAL) program, she has been able to return to Stockton as a full-time student and maintain her job at Egg Harbor Township High School as the Data Coordinator.
She wanted to get her Stockton degree to advance her career in her school district’s technology department. Currently, she is majoring in Liberal Arts with a double minor in Digital Literacy/Multimedia Design and in Writing. Her studies have been concentrated in Instructional Technology and she is planning on doing a direct entry into Stockton’s M.A. program in Instructional Technology next fall.
Her focus on Instructional Technology also relates to her goal of becoming a Supervisor of Education Technology or a Technology Coordinator. However, she would also like to be a TV Media teacher or a Technology Integration Coach (TIC).
“TICs help educators with professional development and help create engaging lesson plans to incorporate technology in the K-12 classroom,” Mullen explains.
Outside of the coursework in her major, Mullen is involved with the Stockton Digital Humanities Internship, which is a dual semester course based on learning and interning for front-end web design. These skills will be beneficial when she works directly with students and technology. The work she has done in the program allowed her to implement her skills for the new Stockton CARES and Board of Trustees Fellowship websites.
“Our team has been working hard creating content and developing a social media presence and it’s great to see the work we’re doing will be left as a legacy,” she said of the internship.
Besides her desire to do well at Stockton, she also wants to help improve the lives of others with Gaucher Disease. She has become a “patient spokesperson” for Genzyme, the pharmaceutical company which created the infusion therapy used to help treat her disease.
“I have traveled along the East Coast giving presentations to other patients and providing feedback on the Gaucher advisory board,” she said.
She is also volunteering as a coordinator for edCamp South Jersey, which will draw hundreds of educators to South Jersey on March 28. EdCamp is a professional development day known as an “unconference,” and will be held at William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing. What makes the unconference setup unique is there is not a set schedule until the day of the event, when presenters create the schedule and sessions encourage group engagement rather than lecturing.
She’s no stranger to free enterprise, either. Mullen owns and operates a freelance video and photography company, Film Reel Productions, which she has had since graduating from high school.
Throughout the course of her Stockton career, Mullen has several people to thank for their support, including the staff in the Academic Advising office, notably Richard Trama, Peter Hagen, and Brittany Jillson. The support staff there helped her start her academic career again through the REAL program and write a Liberal Arts proposal, she said.
Additionally, she pointed to her minor preceptors, Jung Lee and Judy Copeland, as being “incredibly understanding and accommodating, allowing me to balance the work and school life but still receive a well-rounded, quality education that I’ll be able to apply in the ‘real world.’”
Being a non-traditional student, Mullen was able to utilize the REAL program and return to Stockton as though she never left.
“I now have a much greater appreciation for the value of higher education and the doors it can open,” she said. “And now with Stockton University’s recent name change and its expansion into Atlantic City, I think there is no better time to be an Osprey!”