Skip to main content
A woman stands with her arms crossed

Meet Ashley Boynes-Shuck '24

Professional Studies-M.A.
College Activities
Pioneer Records; 2024 PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conference
South Fayette, Pa.
Now Living In
Robinson, Pa.
Dream Job
Public relations or marketing in the entertainment industry and/or writing for Rolling Stone Magazine! I’d also love doing artists & repertoire for a music label, working with generative AI or doing content creation in any field, and I am a writer at heart.
Hobbies & Interests
Birdwatching, reformer pilates, hip-hop dance classes, kayaking, going to concerts, traveling, antiquing, writing, playing guitar and piano

"The M.A. in Professional Studies allowed me to transfer in some previous credits, and I was able to tailor my course selections to fit in with my professional experience and career goals moving forward."

Ashley Boynes-Shuck '24

Undergraduate degree

B.A. in Humanities with concentrations in English Writing, Communications, and Literature, University of Pittsburgh, 2007

Why did you choose Point Park University? 

I chose Point Park University because of its rich history of being a stellar liberal arts school that has a passion for entertainment, creativity and the arts. I loved that it is local, but that I’m able to be an online student and attend remotely and asynchronously. That flexibility is key, and culture-wise, it’s a perfect fit for me! Plus, it just has a great reputation in Pittsburgh. I have some good friends who went to Point Park and loved it — and who are now quite successful! 

How does the M.A. in Professional Studies fit in with your career goals? 

I was looking for a career change when I applied. I was in a people management role, feeling very burned-out and underutilized, and the health tech start-up I was working for was not allowing me to be creative or grow. I felt really unfulfilled and misaligned with my passion and purpose. I really needed a change and after extensive research, decided that the Professional Studies program at Point Park was a great fit for me and my first choice for grad school! Coincidentally, I was part of a mass layoff just months after being accepted, so the timing seemed serendipitous. While I search for my next role, I am able to focus on my studies.  

What do you like about the M.A. in Professional Studies? 

It had always been my dream to finish my master's degree. The M.A. in Professional Studies allowed me to transfer in some previous credits, and I was able to tailor my course selections to fit in with my professional experience and career goals moving forward. I really value the flexibility that the program offers and loved that I was able to select interesting courses that resonated with me personally. There were so many different tracks I could choose from with various concentrations and diverse focus areas. I chose the Social Media/PR/Advertising track to complement my Education credits and my professional background in writing, marketing and tech.

Some of the classes I’ve taken include Communications Law & Regulation, the Business of Live Entertainment, Global Communications and Social Media Crisis Management & Strategy. Being able to learn in a virtual environment on my own time from the comfort of my own home was really appealing to me. I am able to focus on self-care, hunt for a job and devote time to other interests and hobbies while attending grad school. I’m even taking a songwriting class on the side, and my pets love that I’m home with them while pursing my master’s degree!

What's it like being an online student?

As someone who deeply values autonomy and flexibility, I love being an online student. I will say that to be a fully online student, you have to be organized, dedicated, motivated and a self-starter with good time management. The ability to multi-task is also key, which goes for any college student or professional. Your online assignments for the week could include papers, quizzes, discussion boards, watching videos or viewing slide decks, plus required textbook reading. Most of the courses are asynchronous and self-paced with a hard deadline. Worth noting is that you are usually not viewing live classes or lectures like an in-person student would, so you have to be able to view/read the materials and learn on your own. It’s different, but it’s truly awesome to be able to “attend school” from anywhere, be it your home, on vacation, from a coffee shop or anywhere you have Wi-Fi. Plus, some of the assignments, while hard work, are fun — right now I'm doing a project about my favorite band!

@pointparku Join Ashley Boynes-Shuck '24, a current Master of Arts in Professional Studies student, as she shares what it looks like going back to school as a nontraditional student. Learn about her favorite parts of online classes and more! 👏 #PointParkU #PointParkUniversity #NonTraditionalStudent #ProfessionalStudies #ProfessionalStudiesMajor ♬ original sound - Point Park Univ.

Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective graduate student? 

I would 100% recommend Point Park to a prospective grad student, with no reservations or hesitation. The faculty and staff have been incredibly supportive and welcoming, and I really enjoy the customization of some of the courses and programs. The vibe at Point Park is amazing, too, and while I am excited and proud to be hopefully completing my master’s degree this summer, a large part of me is very sad to be seeing it end already. I love being a grad student at Point Park! I feel that I have really been allowed to be myself and cater to my strengths through this program, and that Point Park really nurtures that type of individualized experience. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Don’t fear going back to school just because you are older or a nontraditional student! I was hesitant to go back at age 40 as an adult learner. I also worried that some people wouldn’t believe or understand that an online program is a “real” grad school program, but it is! It’s just as rigorous and valuable as an in-person academic experience on campus.

Don’t let fear hold you back. After all, “everything is figure-out-able!” Being a more seasoned student with lots of life experiences and a diverse professional life under my belt has offered a different perspective. I am far more organized, studious, ambitious and focused  than I was during my undergrad years. There is something to be said for the maturity and education that comes from just living life and navigating adulthood. It’s never too late — I am grateful that I finally realized that. 

Connect with Ashley Boynes-Shuck '24

More About: School of Continuing and Professional Studies, online programs, Get Career-Ready, M.A. in professional studies