Three Friends at University of Phoenix Complete Their Doctorates in Education Together


Three Friends at University of Phoenix Complete Their Doctorates in Education Together

Photo : Hannah Madison

Three women from Florida who have been friends since middle school earned their Doctor of Education together from University of Phoenix in August 2021. The working moms were determined to take their careers to the next level, and the University's flexible online doctoral degree program gave them the ability to complete their coursework on their own schedules as they leaned on one another for support to make it through the challenging coursework.

Drs. Natasha Myla, La-Toya Facey-Walker and Jennel E. Mayers have been close friends throughout middle school, high school and college. They attend church together and serve as godmothers to one another's children. 

They are also all ambitious. Each is an entrepreneur with her own side business that serves as a passion project. Myla is the founder of Hawt Hosting, an emcee and entertainment hosting business; Facey-Walker co-owns a fitness center called BodyTek Fitness Pembroke Pines; and Mayers own a women's accessories business called Exotic Jems. All share similar professional aspirations, and after researching their options decided that the University of Phoenix doctoral degree program was one they could commit to and complete, as long as they could rely on one another's support. "We have a lot of separate accomplishments, but I know that this accomplishment, I would not have been able to achieve without them," says Facey-Walker.

Pursuing a Doctorate in Education at University of Phoenix

The Doctor in Education degree program at University of Phoenix prepares students for leadership positions within educational organizations by teaching them how to use theory and principles to guide strategic planning. Students also learn how to address legal, regulatory and compliance issues; how to use research and statistics to solve problems; how to work effectively in modern educational systems; and how to develop a personal leadership style.

The online, flexible program takes about 38 months to complete and is ideal for those seeking leadership roles in higher education including as a school administrator, dean, provost, college president or instructional designer. Courses cover such topics as qualitative methods and design, the legal context of education, the economics of education, and evaluation and assessment methods. 

Students begin their dissertation in the third course and complete it via a series of milestones leading up to the final dissertation defense when they complete their degree program. The women's professional experience prepared them well for what many consider to be one of the most challenging parts of earning a doctoral degree, the women said. Myla is an instructional facilitator, Mayers is a literacy coach and Facey-Walker is a district administrator. "We thought defending was going to be the hardest part, and it actually was not," said Facey-Walker. "It was, for us, the easiest part, and I guess that's because we present all the time at our jobs."

Support Every Step of the Way

The women were fortunate to have one another as a built-in support system that could help them weather personal struggles as they continued on their higher education journey. They fed off one another's ambition and committed to their end goals, cheering one another on. "The problem of hanging around ambitious people," said Facey-Walker, "is we don't look at a problem the same way. Is it challenging? Yes, and we know it's gonna cause us some sleepless nights, but we're just like, 'All right. So, what's the game plan?' And we get to work."

That personal support was augmented by the many supportive resources that University of Phoenix has in place for adults pursuing a higher degree while balancing the demands of a busy work-life schedule. The University has a team of 50 faculty who can support students as they work on their dissertations as well as additional resources such as a Dissertation Guide and a Dissertation Criteria Assessment.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. They offer a range of online degree options including associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees programs as well as professional certifications all designed to align with the career goals of adult learners. 

University of Phoenix's College of Doctoral Studies offers programs in a number of high-growth career areas including healthcare, business and education. Students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning and Career Services for Life® commitment help University students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit

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