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Apryl Roach BSBA ’14, MSHRM ’15, MBA ’19

Apryl Roach BSBA '14, MSHRM '15, MBA '19For Apryl Roach, vindication is a dish best eaten cold. 

After years of being thwarted by a lack of confidence and competing responsibilities, she earned her third Thomas Edison State University degree this year, a Master in Business Administration (MBA). This accomplishment follows a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree and a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management in 2014, and a Master of Science in Human Resources Management (MSHRM) degree in 2015 – all from TESU’s School of Business and Management. 

“My academic journey began in the late 90s when the economy took an unfavorable turn and my position was eliminated due to downsizing. Even though I had already spent 20 years in the workforce, without the completion of a degree, I couldn’t even apply for the job openings I wanted,” Roach recalls.

Knowing that a degree would improve her odds, she began taking courses at Middlesex County Community College and would later be inducted as a member of its Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society while completing her Associate of Science in Business Administration (ASBA) with academic honors. 

As a single parent, her focus remained on raising her daughter and trying to build a career. As academic pursuits became increasingly disrupted by school sports, PTA meetings and her volunteer commitments, Roach said she found herself at a critical juncture. “Once my daughter enrolled in college, I said ‘I need to finish this, I have no excuse now.’ ” The race was on. She transferred her associate degree credits to TESU and doubled up on courses each term in order to complete her BSBA. 

The impact of earning that degree was immediate. “My bachelor’s degree was conferred on a Friday in late December 2013 and, literally, the following Monday, I was invited to interview for a potential position. I was offered a position in management where I am today. If it wasn’t for my degree, that glass ceiling would have still existed for me,” said Roach, who has served as an administrative manager and acting director of a New Jersey municipal authority. 

Her Master of Science in Human Resources Management degree was given a healthy head start by her enrollment in TESU’s Bachelor’s to Master’s Program. Through the program, she was able to earn 12 credits that she applied to both her bachelor’s and master’s degree at the undergraduate tuition rate. Roach said the exposure also helped familiarize her with the rigors of graduate-level study. 

“Although my current position did not require a master’s degree, I did not want to find myself confronted with an employment opportunity that I could not pursue because I didn’t possess the right credentials. The beauty in being a lifelong learner at Thomas Edison State University is that the classroom was wherever I was, and I was blessed by being surrounded by educators that were very supportive.” 

With her momentum now fueled by a bachelor’s degree and her induction in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society, both she and her daughter, Danielle, registered for graduate-level courses at TESU during the same timeframe. Roach then continued her studies to complete the MBA program while serving as the student representative on TESU’s Board of Trustees. The convergence resulted in a memorable moment for both mother and daughter. In 2018, while on the Commencement dais with her fellow trustees, she had the opportunity to assist in the formal acknowledgment of her daughter’s MSHRM degree. “It’s been an amazing, validating experience as a student, graduate and board member. My perspective has always been valued, and I’ve had the opportunity to share President Dr. Merodie A. Hancock’s vision for the University along with the positive changes and opportunities that continue to unfold. It’s gratifying to play a part in that legacy.” 

This year, Roach attended her third TESU Commencement to receive her MBA with honors. In addition to her full-time position, Roach is already putting her master’s degrees to use as an adjunct professor for Rider University and The College of New Jersey where she is introducing students to the fundamentals of human resource management. 

“For anyone who thinks they can’t possibly do the same, I’m here to tell you, ‘yes you can!’ I thank TESU for surrounding me with professors, academic advisers and executive leadership that were committed to me as a lifelong learner. I now counsel others that it’s never too late to make a difference in your life,” Roach said. 

Outside of her work life and academics, the New Jersey native enjoys gardening, cooking, participating in marathons for charity and traveling. In her community, she serves as vice president/president elect with HRMA Princeton, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She also serves as a board member of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society, going on missions with her church to serve and help build homes in developing countries. She has served for more than 21 years as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) and member for the Board of Trustees for the Plainsboro (N.J.) Rescue Squad.