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Early Start

Student makes the grade thanks to early graduate school admission

Lishanna Postell, ’21, G’22, loves studying the human body, however she faced a financial roadblock to earning an advanced degree. That is until she discovered Bridgewater State University’s early admissions program.

“It saved me,” said Lishanna, a physical education major with an eye on a graduate level strength-and-conditioning degree. “Financially, where I am right now, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate with a master’s.” 

Early admission allows BSU undergraduates such as Lishanna to take graduate courses that simultaneously count toward their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, thereby reducing the number of courses they need to take to earn both degrees.

That’s a big deal for Lishanna, who receives tuition reimbursement for serving as a senior airman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 203rd intelligence squadron. She would have used up her reimbursement funding before completing graduate school were it not for the early admissions program.

Now, she sees a path to continue her studies and reach her eventual goal of serving soldiers, police officers and others engaged in physically demanding careers.

“I want to work with people who have to use their bodies for their job,” she said. “I’m obsessed with the human body. I am obsessed with learning.”

That passion for education might have surprised a younger Lishanna, who once struggled to concentrate on schoolwork. She took some online college classes after graduating high school in 2011 and then entered the National Guard.

Studying nutrition, neuroscience, exercise, and related topics helped her focus on academics.

“It was through these different avenues of learning about the body that I discovered my potential,” said Lishanna, who is also a personal trainer.

Her potential is apparent to Dr. Ellyn Robinson, a professor in the Department of Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies.

“She’s been a great role model for the new kids,” Robinson said. “Lishanna really, genuinely seems to be here to learn.”

Her career ambitions perfectly combine her military experience and a strong BSU education, said Robinson, who has helped Lishanna in her quest for post-graduation employment.

While Lishanna misses the hands-on learning impossible in online classes, she praises professors such as Robinson for going the extra mile to ensure students continue to receive a valuable education in a pandemic.

“The learning experience has not wavered,” she said. “I feel I'm walking away with an excellent level of education because of all my professors.”

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