Gemini Creason is pursuing a master’s degree in both criminal justice and communication at Northeastern State University.
As an NSU undergraduate, she majored in criminal justice, Spanish and sociology.
A transfer student, Creason began college at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. When she moved back home to help her grandparents, she decided to attend Northeastern.
“It is geographically easier for me at this point,” said Creason. “I will say, though, the reason I chose to stay is because of the professors I interacted with in the undergrad program.”
Discovering her passions. Creason always had a passion in criminal justice. She wanted to pursue her a criminal justice graduate degree for the research opportunities it held.
“The higher up you go, the more research you get to do,” said Creason. “I started research as an undergrad and instantly fell in love with all kinds of different projects.”
Creason said Dr. Kristopher Copeland, a former Northeastern State University professor, was a main influencer in her decision also pursue a graduate degree in communication.
“I got to know the Department of Communication Studies well,” said Creason. “I was able to go to a conference and it was there I realized there was more to communication studies than I was first led to believe.”
Creason was also familiar with the department through her time on the NSU speech and debate team, which she participated in for four years.
Being able to teach undergraduate students, especially Fundamentals of Oral Communication classes, was another factor that influenced her decision to join the communication program.
“The graduate assistants get to teach,” said Creason. “One, I love teaching. Two, public speaking was so important to my undergrad [degree], and I know there are so many students that struggle with it. They don’t realize how important it can be, how useful to just be able to talk and have complete ease about it. It is a talent, a skill that will help them no matter where they go or what they do.”
Creason helped teach the University Strategies course and through it discovered her love for teaching, as well as her time as a tutor in the writing center and the library.
“Those types of opportunities—being able to work in the library, the writing center, the graduate assistant office, being a peer instructor—are a major reason why I stayed at NSU,” said Creason.
Aside from institutional jobs, Creason also received hands-on experience from attending conferences, including the Central States Communication Association and Criminal Justices conferences where she was able to sit in on and even present on multiple panels.
“If you love research, that’s the way to go,” Creason said. “That’s what you want to do, because you don’t want to do all this hard work and then hide in your closet and nobody know it exists. NSU is good about supporting students in going and doing that, and I got to do both of those as an undergrad. It just multiplies once you step into the grad spectrum.”
Encouraging future students. Creason advises others to start graduate school as soon as possible.
“Don’t take a break. Just jump right on into it,” said Creason. “You’re going to say, ‘Oh well I need a break and then I’ll be ready.’ You’re never going to be ready, to be honest. You just kind of have to go for it, hope for the best, and surround yourself with the proper resources to succeed.”
Obtaining a master’s degree is possible, as long as a student is willing to work hard and fight for it, said Creason.
“If there’s a student out there that wants to pursue something and it’s not on a traditional track, don’t be afraid to try and fight for it,” Creason said. “I had to do a lot of work to be able to pursue the track I’m currently pursuing, but it’s worth it. You get there, and suddenly everything feels right in the world, you feel like you’re making progress and you realize all that fighting was worth it. The only reason they fight you is because they’re not used to that type of student, but don’t be afraid to show them that those students do exist.”