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MSU Ed.D. student Karol Johansen gives college students career guidance

Karol Johansen PictureKarol Johansen's career path didn't take her far from her hometown of Lakewood, California. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) alumna currently works at that alma mater as the associate director of career development and has spent more than 25 years dedicating her life to addressing the career needs of college students.  

Johansen's graduate-level academic career led her to explore educational options to maximize the impact she can have in her profession. While she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from UCI and a master's degree in counseling from Los Angeles-based Loyola Marymount University, her desire to earn a doctorate led her to Morehead State University's online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Adult and Higher Education program.  

"As a Californian, there is no shortage of availability in terms of graduate and professional programs," she said. "I decided to embark on a national search for a doctoral program that was closely aligned with my scholarly interests, professional goals, work schedule, and personal budget. After an extensive amount of research, I discovered Morehead State University, and it has been the perfect choice."    

Johansen said she had parents who grew up during the Great Depression and emphasized having a strong work ethic and getting an education. She considers herself a lifelong learner. She worked in financial services but found it lacking in meaning and she randomly applied for an administrative job in career services.  

"The field was perfectly aligned with my skills, interests, personality and value," she said.   

Before her current position as associate director of career education, Johansen served as senior counseling manager for pre-professional services at the UCLA Career Center. When continuing her education, she said MSU's program in Adult and Higher Education allowed her to "check off every box on my list."    

"I was seeking an affordable predominantly online program with distinguished faculty, which offered me the flexibility to pursue my research interests while choosing from an array of higher education specialization areas," she said.  

Johansen is currently in her second year in MSU’s doctoral program. Even though she hasn’t completed the program, she has already successfully integrated her experience in her current role with UCI.  

"Through my Ed.D. program, I have examined measures that reflect institutional effectiveness along with data-based planning and decision-making in higher education environments that demand accountability and transparency," she said. "Within a philosophical framework of higher education, there has been a full integration of leadership and management skills in the program along with a strong student learning and outcome-driven curriculum that has further facilitated and refined my development as a leader in higher education."  

Johansen said her education at MSU has equipped her to continue her passion and make a difference in her students' lives.  

"As a career education team leader and student advocate, I encourage University of California students to explore career pathways they care deeply about along with those which they have never fully imagined or remotely considered," she said. "I encourage my students to take inventory of their dreams, passions, and aspirations. Witnessing my students fulfilling their dreams is the best feeling."  

The deadline to apply for the Ed.D. program is Thursday, April 1. To learn more about the Ed.D. degree program, visit, email Dr. Lee Nabb, associate professor of adult and higher education, at or call 606-783-2168.  

For more information about MSU's Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit