Doctoral Alumna Focus | Ja'Bette Lozupone
"Earning my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Hood College transformed me into a Level 5 leader. Through an exceptional and rigorous curriculum, I was able to engage in deep introspection and reflection, as well as challenge my ideas and beliefs through stimulating literature and deliverables"
Ja'Bette Lozupone, DOL'20
- Organizational Leadership (Doctorate)
- Business Administration (Doctorate)
- The George B. Delaplaine Jr. School of Business
Ja'Bette Luzupone, DOL'20, is a triple Blazer and the first Latina to earn a doctorate at Hood College. In her current role at Montgomery College, she is leading the Aspen Post Secondary Success for Parents Initiative. Previously, Ja'Bette created and developed the Achieving the Promise Academy (ATPA) which provided one-on-one coaching and embedded classroom support to nearly 5,000 underserved students.
Please provide a brief bio including your educational and career background.
Hood College was the only college I applied to when graduating from high school. I never imagined I would want to attend an all-women's institution, but I attended an overnight event and it felt like home. It was such a loving environment. I knew this was the school for me. However, things did not quite go as planned. After my first semester, I found myself pregnant at sixteen. Dean Olivia White’s mentoring and support was critical to me completing my bachelor’s in Communications. Her belief in me propelled me through my journey at Hood College.
After graduating, I stumbled into higher education in an administrative support role and discovered what would become my career. I love education and learning. It was only natural that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree. Hood College is a special place and I knew Hood was the only choice for me to complete my MBA. By this point Hood was co-ed.
Soon after I attained my master’s degree, Hood began exploring adding a doctoral program to their graduate school. That was music to my ears. I was admitted into the second cohort and earned my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership in September 2020. I am proud to be a triple Blazer and the first Latina to earn a doctorate at Hood College.
With each degree I completed, I took on new and more challenging roles in academic and student affairs. I have created and led collegewide academic programs, marketing campaigns, enrollment and admissions operations, and professional development initiatives. As an administrator and leader, it has been exciting to operate as an entrepreneur and leverage my competencies to innovate at the organization.
Further, I have always ensured that I would devote time to give back to my community by serving underrepresented populations. I have mostly done this by mentoring youth, and in particular, girls and young women. I also made it a priority to serve on boards like the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and serve on groups such as the Latin American Advisory Group to the County Executive in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Why did you choose Hood College?
When deciding on a doctoral program, the decision to come to Hood College was a no-brainer. Hood is known for individualized attention, small classes, and fostering relationships. I was looking for an in-person cohort program close to home, that fit the schedule of a busy professional and caretaker. It was clear that the program was designed in such a way to ensure my success.
It was a huge advantage to be able to complete coursework and my dissertation simultaneously, unlike other programs that produce a lot of individuals who are ABDs (All But Dissertations) that do not complete their doctorates. A plus was not having to take a standardized test since I have never been a great test-taker. The application process looks at the whole person and prioritizes practical outcomes.
How has it helped your career?
Earning my doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Hood College transformed me into a Level 5 leader. Through an exceptional and rigorous curriculum, I was able to engage in deep introspection and reflection, as well as challenge my ideas and beliefs through stimulating literature and deliverables. Through that process I further honed my conscious competencies, tapped into and developed unconscious abilities, strengthened critical executive capacities, and made peace with what skills to outsource and when to do so. I feel like the sky is the limit. I have the capacity to become whatever I desire, and the educational qualifications to be a respected voice at any table.
What did you enjoy about Hood College?
In all earnestness, there is so much to love about Hood College. My favorite part of my recent doctoral experience was the people. Being part of a cohort was crucial to my success. Those human beings I shared every Saturday with became my family. They are the only ones who truly know what you are going through, because they are having the same experience in the same boat with you. You need each other and you have each other’s back.
You will celebrate each other’s successes, hold each other accountable, support each other, and nudge each other to keep progressing toward your goals. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the brilliant and caring faculty and staff. They are top-notch and are truly invested in your personal well being, academic progress, and professional success.
Tell us about the research and work you have been doing at Montgomery College.
In my current role, I am leading the Aspen Post Secondary Success for Parents Initiative at Montgomery College. As a teen mother, I am all too familiar with the struggle of successfully balancing motherhood, school, work, and other personal responsibilities. I know what type of resources and how much support is needed to successfully complete a post secondary degree amid so much adversity.
My personal experience, professional endeavors, and academic qualifications prepared me to be successful in this new role, and it will translate into success for our students and the organization. In my previous role, I created and developed the Achieving the Promise Academy (ATPA), which provided one-on-one coaching and embedded classroom support to nearly 5,000 underserved students. With the guidance and support from an academic coach, student retention, engagement in academic support services, GPAs, completion, and transfer rates increased.
The title of my dissertation is Whom Do We Entrust to Care for Our Students: Organizational Fit to Foster an Ethical Culture of Employee and Student Success. I was inspired to investigate this topic based on my personal experiences as a student, employee, administrator, and leader. What connects us is that we are all human beings who desire to be respected and cared about. Who we hire to care for our students matters. We cannot care about our students if we do not care about each other. Nor can we expect successful outcomes for students if we are not ourselves successful in living and breathing the mission and values of our organizations. It is a tale as old as time. You cannot give what you do not have. In order to give students what they need, there is a lot we can do as organizations to ensure we hire the right people in the right roles in the right organizations. It starts with accountability in upholding the values we preach. We must walk our talk.
Any other fun facts you would like to add?
I am in the process of developing a lifestyle blog and podcast to help individuals navigate life, tap into their god-given gifts, and realize their full potential. My life has been stranger than fiction and marred by adversity. It's a miracle (and a lot of hard work) that I am here, and I have learned so many lessons along the way. I want to pass the wisdom along. I think I am finally ready to share my story.