picture of natalie winfree

Montgomery Community College Counselor, Natalie Winfree, was awarded her Doctor of Educational Leadership from Wingate University this month.

Natalie began her doctorate in September 2015 while she continued working full-time at MCC. The classes helped her broaden her knowledge and resources for her position at MCC.
“It was a very practical doctorate, very entrenched in what we do every day,” said Natalie. Her thesis topic was An Investigation of Parental Support on Retention, Persistence, and Success of First Generation College Students. Natalie was a first generation college student and remembered her own struggles navigating the college experience.
First generation college students have barriers because of family expectations and differing priorities.
“In my job as a counselor, I am constantly aware of students’ struggles, especially of those students whose parents never went to college and don’t understand the difficulties their children are experiencing,” said Natalie.
Natalie will be applying her own strategies at MCC to help improve student retention. She wants to focus on what goes on behind the scenes and bring parents into the mix.
“I want to embrace what parents bring to the table because a lot of our systems shoo them away. Parents can be very influential to a student’s success,” Natalie said.
Natalie’s strategies will mesh well with her department’s goal of improving the first-year college student experience. The first year is a transition period for students. If they encounter difficulty with any one of the many new experiences, they may feel defeated and drop out.
“It’s our goal to make sure they are able to navigate the first year successfully,” Natalie said.
Montgomery Community College congratulates Dr. Natalie Winfree in her successful completion of her doctoral degree.

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