Michele Lisenbury Christensen, 2004

MA Psychology, Integrated Studies

"...It's the quality of decision-making, articulation and linking of conscience and intellect I learned at Antioch that have improved my career...."

Before she came to Antioch, Michele Lisenbury Christensen met an Antioch adjunct faculty member who told her, “I’m sure you’re great at what you do, but you’d have so much more power and depth with a master’s level education to underpin your work.”

She was a self-employed business and personal coach who wanted the intellectual stimulation and companionship of an in-person environment because so much of her work was on the phone.

“I saw it as a place where my mind and my spirit would both be honed in the fire of Antioch’s commitment to intellectual rigor and social justice,” Christensen describes.

She says her Antioch master’s degree provides instant credibility as one of the founders of Working with Power, a Seattle firm that helps clients retain, grow and advance women and transforms dysfunctions of high-performing teams.

“…It’s the quality of decision-making, articulation and linking of conscience and intellect I learned at Antioch that have improved my career, even though the degree did not precipitate a career change,” she notes.

She credits Ned Farley with being a phenomenal adviser.

“He encouraged me both to push myself in new directions and to reel myself in, in the places where I tended to want to reach so far, I was setting myself up for failure. With both his own study and writing in the area of psychology and his personal presence, he made my graduate program a deeply satisfying experience.

“Nearly every professor inspired me deeply in classes, too, expanding my mind and challenging my skill as a writer and a practitioner.”

Her reflections on her independent study?

“Independent study is like baking your own cake from scratch…if you’ve never heard of cake, but have a master baker at your elbow helping you craft your own recipe.

“It was doubly difficult, because I had to craft my own syllabi and locate my reading and design my demonstrations, but the curse was also the blessing. I got to study exactly what I wanted to study and had great input from my faculty adviser and field advisers, so I knew I was reaching good materials and learning opportunities.”

When she recommends Antioch to prospective students, this Seattle businesswoman says Antioch made her who she is today.

“It expanded my sense of my values, helped me understand my privilege and cemented my commitment to use my privilege and my talents for good,” she notes.