PeopleTec systems engineer enjoys benefits of cohort learning

Published: Oct 26, 2023 8:55 AM

By Karen Hunley

Jordan Parker, a systems engineer at PeopleTec, Inc., is a part of an employee cohort formed through Auburn Engineering's educational partnership with the Huntsville company. PeopleTec student-employees who wish to earn an advanced degree and meet the application requirements can choose from any of the college's online master's programs. 

When did you start the cohort program and when do you expect to finish?
I started the Master of Engineering Management program in August 2022 and expect to finish in December 2025.

What made you decide to pursue your MEM degree?
I have always wanted to continue my education but hadn’t found the type of graduate program that was a good fit for me until I heard about the cohort program. When I heard that my organization, PeopleTec, was partnering with Auburn for a cohort program, I was immediately interested in the opportunity. After learning more about the program and the curriculum itself, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. I had a great experience at Auburn while studying for my undergrad so I knew this experience would be nothing short of amazing.   

From your own experience, what are the benefits of being in a cohort?
My favorite benefit of being in a cohort is having co-workers participate alongside me. Being a full-time employee while pursing a graduate degree is no small undertaking. However, knowing that I have a group of people going through the process with me is unmatched. Since we are all in the same location, we can meet up for study sessions, watch class lectures together, and collaborate on projects and other class assignments. There is just something special about having people in person, working with you, while pursuing a degree.

How would you describe your experience so far with this program and how does the fully online format benefit you?
My experience in this program has been positive and encouraging. Being a full-time employee, I have to complete my school work outside of regular class hours. My professors have done a great job at providing a plan that allows online students to be fully remote while also allowing a space for collaboration.  I truly appreciate the teachers and their dedication to cater to online students.

Tell me about your experience with faculty and advising within the fully online format.
The faculty and staff at Auburn have been such a great resource. Even though they are located hours away, I feel like they are so close due to their responsiveness and willingness to help.

How does this program complement your career goals at PeopleTec? 
Honestly, there is probably not a graduate program that better complements my background and career goals ... it feels as though I am simply building on what I have previously learned. The goals and objectives of my current courses are teaching me how to go beyond my technical knowledge and use the lessons I am learning to become an effective manager and leader.

Have you had a chance to use the new cohort study space in the AU Research and Innovation Campus, and if so, what do you think about it?
Yes, a couple classmates and I have used the AURIC study space quite a few times now. We have used the space to work on group projects, homework, and as a quiet place to take exams. We were granted frequent access to the space and appreciate the vibes it offers --- it gives us the atmosphere of being on campus while in the comfort of our hometown.

Media Contact: Karen Hunley,, 334.844.2224

Jordan Parker

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