Mother, Daughter to Speak at Brandman University Virtual Commencement after Earning Master’s Degrees

June 10, 2020

The following content first appeared on the news page while UMass Global operated under its former name of Brandman University.

IRVINE, Calif. (June 10, 2020) – Mother and daughter graduates Deanna and Jacqueline Smerdel will share their story of resilience and accomplishment with the Class of 2020 when they celebrate earning Master of Arts degrees in psychology from Brandman University.

Both Deanna and Jacqueline Smerdel completed Brandman’s graduate-level psychology program with a dual emphasis in marriage and family therapy and professional clinical counseling. Selected as the Class of 2020’s speakers for this year’s Virtual Commencement ceremonies, the graduates will share their story of rising above domestic abuse on their way to academic success and the start of new careers in the mental health field.

“I have a really good rapport with people with emotional dysregulation,” Jacqueline Smerdel said. “We really would love to work with trauma survivors.”

Deanna and Jacqueline Smerdel decided to study psychology after taking courses at Saddleback College together. There, Jacqueline Smerdel discovered “the psychology classes hyped me up.”

Brandman specializes in online and blended courses for working adults. When Deanna and Jacqueline Smerdel were choosing their bachelor’s program, a priority was finding a university providing a balance between work time and study time.

Deanna and Jacqueline Smerdel transferred to Brandman in 2014, taking a fully online bachelor’s psychology program they completed in 2016. After earning their bachelor’s degrees, they enrolled in a mostly on-ground master’s program at the Irvine campus.

The opportunity to learn from instructors who could draw upon their own clinical experiences in the classroom was a highlight of the commencement speakers’ time at Brandman.

“The professors’ passion was infectious,” Deanna Smerdel said. “Because of their enthusiasm, and the way they taught the class. They were so hands-on with everything.”

Brandman University’s Virtual Commencement ceremonies are scheduled to begin Friday, June 12, and continue through Sunday, June 14. More information is available here.

Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. As part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative programs and support services designed for students with busy schedules. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs designed to be relevant to more than 90 career paths. Brandman serves about 22,000 students, about 14,000 of whom are degree-seeking students, at 25 physical campuses in California and Washington, as well as online. Brandman offers fully-online courses for students anywhere in the United States and for military personnel serving abroad. For additional information, visit the university’s website.

Media Contacts:

Terri M. Carbaugh, Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs: [email protected]

Andrew Edwards, Senior Multimedia News Writer: [email protected]

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