Online Student Ensures Equity Is at Forefront of Educational Mission

For Cristian Markovich, enrolling in the Master of Education in Enrollment Management and Policy (EMP) online program was a crucial step to promote student equity throughout his career.

What does it take to become a leader? For most people, it requires a blend of inherent traits and acquired expertise.

For Cristian Markovich, enrolling in the Master of Education in Enrollment Management and Policy (EMP) online program at USC was a crucial step toward his achieving his leadership goals. Devoted to advancing educational equity within the admissions process, Markovich knew a master’s degree would advance his career in the field and help him positively impact his community.

Currently working as the instructional division coordinator for Compton College, Markovich has held positions throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2004, when he graduated from high school.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in history from California State University, Long Beach, he took on various roles, including a student services advisor for El Camino Community College, a technical support technician for LAUSD and a council member for the City of Cudahy. He even served as the mayor of Cudahy in 2015.

The recurring theme among his academic pursuits, career in education and positions in local government is an unwavering devotion to fostering a more equitable and inclusive world.

“I’ve always tried to look at my work or my volunteerism through the lens of social justice and equity,” Markovich told USC Online.

Markovich soon realized, however, that if he wanted to ascend the career ladder and effectively follow this mission, he needed to obtain a master’s degree. Returning to school as a working parent to a 4-year-old son would be markedly different from his undergraduate experience, and so, he sought out programs that offered the flexibility to balance full-time work and family commitments.

When Markovich discovered the EMP online program at USC Rossier School of Education, he knew it was the perfect fit. Not only could he integrate the classes and coursework into his schedule, but it also aligned with his core beliefs.

“A lot of the DNA in the program surrounds equity and being able to help a college or university shape its student body through the lens of admissions and accommodate those students once they arrive to that institution,” Markovich explained.

Before joining the EMP online program, he attended multiple USC Rossier information sessions, where he was able to connect with current students and alumni, all of whom “helped confirm” what Markovich expected from the university.

“They [spoke to] the pedigree of the program [and] USC’s reputation of being at the forefront of racial equity and social justice with a lot of its programs and philosophies,” he recalled.

Markovich’s initial impression of the EMP online — and USC as a whole — has been underscored throughout his first year in the program. From researching how to accommodate students with disabilities to breaking down the latest Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, he has already been able to view equity through “a lot of different lenses.”

In addition to the curriculum, Markovich’s education has been enriched by the diverse perspectives of his classmates — each stemming from different geographical locations, professional backgrounds and career trajectories. Engaging in discussions both inside and outside of the classroom has provided him with a more holistic view of higher education, leading him to consider completely new ideas and viewpoints.

“As a student who is just in the second semester of this program, the impact of being a member of the Trojan Family has been something I completely underestimated,” he said. “I’m also already networking with folks who are saying, ‘You should really be checking out our job boards,’ or, ‘You should really consider applying to this position.’ I’ve met so many incredible, encouraging people at USC.”

Of course, Markovich isn’t certain which of these career paths he’ll ultimately pursue, despite these discussions taking place. He is currently committed to studies and remains steadfast in his commitment to his mission of educational equity, wherever it may lead him.

Overall, however, he “wants to focus on the philosophy of how a college or university should run its business on a day-to-day basis … [and create] an equitable environment for students to thrive in a 21st century landscape.”

“Where I see myself in five or 10 years is being able to apply what I’m learning at the college level to ensure that student equity is at the forefront of student services programs. I want to help students persist, graduate and make that impact. Whether that’s a management position or a VP role, I feel like I’m earning the necessary tools to fulfill that role down the road,” he concluded.

Learn more about the Master of Education in Enrollment Management and Policy (EMP) online program at USC Rossier School of Education today.