Kathleen Lordo

Kathleen Lordo


A Cookeville native and current graduate student at Tennessee Tech University took the scenic route of her way to her second master’s degree. Kathleen Lordo graduated from Tech in 2000 with an undergraduate degree in Geology. She went on to earn her master's degree in Geosciences from another university in another state.  

“Over the next 14 years, I moved from Missouri to Tennessee to Washington to Wisconsin. I moved back to Cookeville in 2017,” Lordo said.  

She worked as an environmental geologist doing groundwater modeling and environmental site assessments for several years after receiving her degrees in geology. She moved to Wisconsin in early 2008 and then when the recession hit, she found it hard to find a job in environmental geology in the area where she was living.

“I ended up working for Wisconsin State Patrol in public safety radio, which was an unexpected turn, but I really enjoyed the work I did there,” Lordo said.

She worked there for several years until she had her daughter in 2012. She decided to stay home with her daughter until she started school because of the price of childcare. She intended to go back to work in public safety radio when her daughter started pre-K, but in 2016 she found herself a newly single parent. 

“I made the decision for my daughter and myself to come back to Cookeville. I now work at Tech in University Advancement,” Lordo said. 

Lordo will graduate in May 2024 with a Master of Professional Studies in Media and Strategic Communication.  

“Having changed job paths a couple of times and then being in a situation where I had to find a job and fast – it rattled me. I had a clear path for myself when I got my first master’s degree, and then life happened a few times,” Lordo said. 

When she started working at Tech, she said she took a good look at how to combine all the transferrable skills she had accumulated over the years and positions and how to “reinvent” herself into someone she felt was marketable. 

“I wanted to take a resume that appeared to be haphazard and emphasize that the varied experiences and skill sets are a benefit to potential employers,” Lordo said. 

Lordo chose the MPS program for several reasons, one being that it emphasizes leadership, as that is something that she feels is desired by hiring managers across different disciplines. 

“It will only serve to help advance my career. I selected the Media and Strategic Communication concentration because so many positions I see advertised have a strong communication focus,” Lordo said. “One thing my career has taught me is that marketing skills and communication skills are always useful.” 

The ability to do asynchronous courses while she works full time and keep a household by herself was the only way she said she was going to be able to complete the program.

“I am grateful that Tech has this online option. I also have always loved Tennessee Tech, it’s why I wanted to work here,” Lordo said. “I had a wonderful experience here as an undergraduate, so I trusted the education I would receive in a master’s program here.”

Lordo said the decision to come back to school for a second master’s degree was not an easy one. She worried that she was not going to be able to do well at school with her attention already being divided between her child, her job and her home. 

“It has not been easy to keep up with it all, but it has been very rewarding,” Lordo said. “What has surprised me most about coming back to school is how much more I enjoy school at 45 than I did at 20 – and I was always one of those people who liked school.”

Lordo said she appreciates the coursework now. Instead of just getting something done, she thinks about how to approach the assignment and what topic would be the most interesting to explore. 

“I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about myself while I learn about media theories and ethics and public relations,” Lordo said. “I also have such a great sense of accomplishment now when I complete something.

The first thing Lordo is going to do after completing her second master’s degree is to “celebrate finishing it.” She said she has been able to integrate the things she has learned from the coursework into her current position.

“I hope to be able to advance my career with the skills I’ve gained from this program," Lordo said.  

For more information about the Master of Professional Studies and other graduate programs offered at Tech visit

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