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OPWL testimonial: Mary Asher, class of 2000

Prior to 2013, Boise State University’s online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) was known as the Master of Science in Instructional and Performance Technology (IPT).

Mary Asher
Mary Asher

Instructional Designer at Ernst and Young

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the entire IPT program for the impact that this IPT degree has had on my career.

I was in an entirely different field prior to starting the IPT program. I had recently earned an MS in International Relations and was working for a small export company in Tennessee when I learned about IPT.

My job at the export company quickly changed when I was asked to step into the role of technology expert/trainer because my technology skills exceeded others in the company. As I upgraded their systems, networked the office, designed a new database and trained my fellow employees, my sister became my advisor. When I expressed an interest in exploring the field so that I could be effective in these types of tasks, she recommended exploring Boise State’s distance education program.

I had an opportunity to speak with Jim Fuller (an IPT graduate) about the program before applying, and was convinced! Life has not been the same since.

In just three years (during my completion of the program) my career took off. I have had the unique opportunity to work for Hewlett Packard’s Learning and Performance Engineering group – a position that started as a 10-week internship and continued for a year. I was promptly hired away by Ernst & Young’s Global Learning Solutions team and worked as an Education Consultant for many Fortune 500 companies, eventually heading up the design and deployment of Oracle training on a project which was delivered to nearly 1000 employees in 80 countries.

Most recently, I held a position with a .com that delivered online tutoring where I was the only one of my “kind”. By default, I became the in-house “expert” on distance learning (a combination of experience creating distance learning AND participating as a distance learning student) and usability and was lucky enough to witness the impact of applying IPT to real issues on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to a book review that has been published, an article I co-authored was selected for presentation at an international conference. I am currently writing an article on the impact of PT in the .com arena.

On top of these exciting opportunities, I have been lucky enough to work with and/or meet Allison Rossett, Harold Stolovich, Fred Estes, Dick Clark, Max Giardina, Thiagi, Jim Fuller, Diane Gayeski, Tim Newby and other movers and shakers in the field.

Last but not least, I’ve had the flexibility of moving to three different cities and continuing to take classes while traveling 80% of the time with Ernst & Young. I LOVE you for that!

What else is there to say? I’ve never enjoyed studying more…

Thanks to everyone at Boise State. Congratulations on making a difference in the lives of your students and best of luck with the new batch of IPT professionals in the ranks!

Best Regards,

Mary Asher