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    LSCPA’s newest “doc” models successful role  

    portrait of woman with flowers
    Roszella Offord, Ed.D, Director of Online Learning at Lamar State College Port Arthur, completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership in the spring of 2020, at the same time that she was leading the school's transition from classroom classes to online classes mandated by the covid-19 pandemic.

    Why does a working mom with a highly regarded job put in the extra time and work and worry to get a doctorate degree?
    Dr. Roszella Offord, Ed.D, did it to prove to others that they can.
    “I didn't do it for any reason other than wanting to become an example of what is possible, especially for African-American girls,” said Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Director of Online Learning.
    “Sometimes the best example is to be the example.”
    Dr. Offord completed work on her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership degree at Lamar University in April.
    She said she’s among the first generation in her family to have a college degree and the first to have a doctorate.
    “Although my parents are the most intellectual and creative humans I know, I saw first-hand how not having a college degree impacted career options and financial gains,” she said.
    Born in Orange and educated at Beaumont’s Lamar University, Dr. Offord has always had a passion for drawing and creating images that make words come to life.
    She teamed up with her sister, educational diagnostician and special education teacher Melondy Roberson, on a series of children’s books.
    Roberson writes and Dr. Offord illustrates the “Adriann” series about a second grader who takes a stand against life’s challenges.
    Dr. Offord’s dissertation topic was "Examining the Perspectives of African-American Women regarding Upward Mobility in Higher Education."
    “My professional expertise is in Online Learning and Educational Technology and I did begin work on my dissertation with a topic concerning online learning,” she said. “But as I was working on it, I had an internal calling to do something that I felt was more meaningful.
    “I wanted to examine the plight of African-American women in higher education. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive tackling diversity in higher education leadership. I was warned that bringing truth to unspoken issues may make people uncomfortable. At some point, I decided to be fearless and speak to issues that are often pushed under the rug.”
    Dr. Offord is one of more than 20 LSCPA faculty members and department heads to have attained a doctorate degree.
    She couldn’t have picked a busier time to wrap hers up, coming in the middle of 2020’s worldwide health emergency.
    While she was preparing to defend her dissertation, she was also leading LSCPA’s changeover from classroom instruction to online instruction made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing it required.
    She did all that in addition to her roles as wife, mother of two small children, the owner of a small business and adjunct education instructor at LSCPA.
    “There were many times throughout this process I became frustrated, particularly from the lack of sleep. But I never once contemplated quitting,” she said. “It wasn't easy. I had to dig deep.
    “Eventually, I became used to doing multiple things at once. I remember feeding my newborn in one hand and typing my papers with the other.”
    The work ethic all goes back to her belief in the power of education.
    “I'm always trying to learn new things and develop new skills. I think it is a reaction to never wanting to feel stuck,” Dr. Offord said.
    “Education provides options. That is why it is important for students to complete their education.”