Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Learn how our UI&U graduates are living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.
Featured this month: Gillian Foreman MA, IBCLC, CLC, ProDoula LD
Education: UI&U 2015 graduate UI&U Master of Arts in Health and Wellness with a specialization in Lactation Studies, BS School of Architecture Interior Design University of Texas at Arlington.
Profession: Gillian supports families preparing for birth and breastfeeding through classes and education on Childbirth Education, Birth Doula Services, Breastfeeding Support and Education, and Postpartum Group Support, at Modern Breastfeeding + Education. Her many credentials include Childbirth Educator, Certified Labor Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Babywearing Educator, trained Postpartum Doula, Hypnobirthing-trained Doula, Neonatal Resuscitation Certified as well as BLS CPR certified, and of course an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?
A. My Master’s degree has meant a heightened level of professionalism when approaching providers unfamiliar to my field. Further, it has helped not only clients, but my own family gain a full understanding what I do, not to mention a personal “next level” feeling of knowledge. I also believe my degree has opened doors for me that would not have existed otherwise, as it was also an exercise in assimilating research and becoming a better writer!
I also want people reading this to know that investing financially and time wise in the Master’s program at Union wasn’t an easy decision, and it was one that took me two years to research, debate about, and finally start. I was almost done with Pathway 3 when I switched to Pathway 2 because I simply wanted more; more research, more guidance, more understanding of my lactation career. If I could give anyone reading this advice I would say this: start. Just start, contact me or Union if you have questions, but submit your application already! You won’t regret it, especially with some of the incredible changes coming!
Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?
A. I love that Union answers to the needs of adult learners. Not only by being an online program, with multiple paths, but also the thesis decision, writing, and defense process.
Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?
A. Invest time in yourself. Seriously, this is the type of program with professors who understand you have jobs, families, and will give you an understanding ear, even a little leeway at times when you need it. However, do not abuse that kindness! Invest time in your program, because it is also true that you directly get out of it what you put into it.
Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?
A. My greatest accomplishment to date has been due to difficulty, namely moving across the country in the midst of my master’s program, which then meant starting my business again from scratch in a new area, a new demographic of families that had different needs. I found that I learned much more about serving families in the process. I got to experience two cities worth of hospital standards and home care standards, which strengthened me as a provider.
Q. What is your passion away from work?
A. Away from work I’m highly protective of my family time, and I do love our beautiful fixer upper home. We enjoy hiking and biking around the Cincinnati area, working on home projects, and exploring this city that still feels new to me.