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Staffers Cristina Eftenaru, Martin Pochurko and Stephen Price are graduating this month with master’s degees in educational leadership.

Professional master’s program suits staffers

October 7, 2010

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What could possibly bring together a student recruiter, a finance executive and an education coordinator in the same classroom?

Well, for starters, Stephen Price, Martin Pochurko and Cristina Eftenaru are all skilled SFU staffers with successful careers, they’re not afraid of hard work and they share an appreciation for higher learning.

They’re also part of a cohort of professionals who spent nearly every weekend together during the last two years earning their master’s degrees in educational leadership, with an emphasis on post-secondary contexts, through SFU’s professional master’s program.

Price, the science faculty’s student recruitment and retention coordinator, says he enrolled to better understand the theory underpinning student retention.

"It was certainly a balancing act to meet all the demands of work, school and family," he says. "You had to sacrifice certain things and my ironing was one of them."

But he adds it was all worth it and now that he has his weekends back, he’s spending time with his 90-year-old-plus grandmother, playing the guitar and racing sailboats.

Associate vp-finance Martin Pochurko wanted to learn more about how a university operates. He says his deadline-driven finance background helped him stay focused while juggling studies, work and a family of three kids. Now that he doesn’t have to hit the books on the weekends, he’s enjoying catching up with family and friends.

As is Cristina Eftenaru, the computing science faculty’s co-op education coordinator, who came to Canada from Romania six years ago. During the two-year master’s program, she had to overcome language challenges and the extra stress of changing jobs, one of which involved long Skytrain rides between different work sites.

But none of it has put Eftenaru off working and studying at the same time and she’s planning on getting her doctorate in education next.

"For now, though," she says, "I want to have fun with my family and friends, who have really missed me for the past two years."

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