Currently hard at work on her final capstone project, Marian University senior Thy-Thy Quach (pronounced Tee-Tee) was featured by the Association for Death Education and Counseling in its February newsletter Connects for her work in the Marian University Thanatology program.

Fully prepared to move for graduate school, the Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada native instead discovered Marian’s 100% online program when researching top Thanatology programs and maintained her lifestyle while earning her degree.

Hoping to eventually start a career in palliative care and bereavement, here she discusses what drew her to the program and why it’s been such an asset as she attempts to break into the field of Thanatology.

What initially got you interested in Thanatology?

In 2013 my partner died from brain cancer, and to cope with the loss, I utilized my local bereavement center’s services. Shortly after I completed the program its funding was cut, and I knew then how vital it was to keep the services offered, so I began to research how to make a career out of it.

What about Marian’s program really grabbed your attention?

I really loved that it was a full Master’s degree and that it was interdisciplinary – I just knew deep down that it was the right fit. It being fully online allowed me to stay where I was and continue working, which was huge because of the financial burden graduate school otherwise would’ve been. I also knew right away in looking at the course offerings that it was for me, as it featured Spiritual Formations and Thanatology. I took this class to wrap up my courses. The Master of Science in Thanatology fit all my criteria in what I was looking for in a graduate program.

What has the program been like?

It’s been fulfilling and educational, and it’s fit my lifestyle really well because I travel a lot personally and for work. Having a program that I’m able to take anywhere has been really helpful, and I appreciate being able to come home after work and dive into issues and subject areas that I’m really passionate about. It’s given my life a renewed sense of purpose and it’s been incredible to connect with others in the field.

How have the faculty been?

They’ve been fantastic, and I feel fortunate to have learned from so many knowledgeable professionals in the field. They are all ready and willing to connect with you, and many even take the first step by reaching out to you. I recommend that students in the program reach out and connect with the faculty, because they are such a great resource.

What have you most enjoyed learning about?

As an elective we took a study trip to Uganda, so that really sticks out as a program highlight. I based my capstone project off of what I learned in that course, and it was a great opportunity to finally meet my classmates instead of connecting online. As a Canadian in this program it was enriching to learn the American perspective while providing my own perspective. I love how everyone has diverse backgrounds and how that makes the classroom and discussion enriching and informative.

How will you use what you’ve learned?

The skills I’ve learned are vital and important because the issues of grief and loss are very prevalent in society and reach far and wide. The opportunities that have presented themselves to me while in the program have been life changing, and I know they will continue to be post-graduation. The research and communication skills that are learned at a graduate level are important skills that can applied to many fields.