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Claremont Graduate University’s Trustee Makes College a Family Affair

Claremont, CA — Shreveport, La. native Juanita Dawson graduated from Grambling State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and has settled in California setting the standard for her children while walking the walk she talks.

After working in the technology and defense sector, she realized she needed to learn more about research and wanted to improve her skills. So, she attended Claremont Graduate University (CGU,) eventually graduating with a master’s degree in information systems and technology. She also has an MBA in computer information systems from California State University Dominguez Hills and is currently a doctoral candidate in CGU’s Center for Information Systems & Technology (CISAT.)

Several years later, Dawson is still at CGU. As she works on a PhD, she serves on the board of trustees. (She’s also a member of the Inland Valley News Advisory Board.)

Dawson said she initially joined CGU because she was interested in research and the school had a good reputation in that area. Another factor that drew her to the university was its focus on interdisciplinary learning. She said she also gets to study courses in areas such as psychology and criminology. All these factors come into play as a director of cybersecurity and compliance with Raytheon Technologies.

Another selling factor for the university is that it allows students to create their own disciplines.

Although Dawson’s children both have degrees from Claremont, she said she didn’t have a hand in that decision.

She said that they learned from seeing what she was going through, and the positive experiences she had. That influenced their decision to attend the school. Her son Quincy earned his master’s in education in 2020, and her daughter Nicole graduated in 2021 with an MBA, according to a news release.

“I’m excited they came to my alma mater,” she said.

Now, Dawson is serving the university as a member of the board of trustees. And although being involved in the government of a university can be a contentious position, she is excited about the job.

She is currently in her second year as a trustee.  Dawson said she enjoys the work and the collaboration with the other trustees.

“I enjoy being a thought partner,” she said.

Dawson said she believes she was recruited to be a trustee because board members were looking to her experience and knowledge of business and technology.

Dawson leaves potential CGU students with this piece of advice. She says one of the school’s strong points is interdisciplinary study. This allows young people to learn about various areas. This is useful because the job market is changing so rapidly, and you don’t know where you’re going to end up.

“You don’t have to stay in one area,” she said.

About Claremont Graduate University:

Claremont Graduate University is like no other graduate-level university in the nation. Founded in 1925, CGU is an independent institution devoted entirely to graduate study.

At CGU, students are encouraged to pursue academic research agendas both within and across traditional curricular boundaries. As a member of The Claremont Colleges, a consortium of seven independent institutions, CGU is able to offer a greater breadth of faculty and campus resources than is typical of a university with 2,200 students.

Claremont Graduate University is classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education as R2: Doctoral Research University, Higher Research Activity. Many of our academic programs are practice-based, so students start working in their field even as they’re learning. Enrollment is limited and classes are small, so our scholars receive individualized mentorship that expands their vocational network and prepares them for remarkable careers.


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