Fostering the Spirit


MSMU is founded on the principle of service.

Our founding Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet were guided to serve all, as the dear neighbor, without distinction. Although this mission is worldwide, it starts here at home with each of us. This spirit is alive and abundant in each of us who call Mount Saint Mary’s home; it’s what connects us. How are you fostering your spirit?

Here are some tips to help you stay connected to yourself and your campus community:

Engage in Mindfulness Activities

Mindfulness is a simple, but profound, practice that can be utilized at anytime and anyplace. Being mindful means being purposely and actively aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental way. In other words, when you are mindful, you are noticing simply what is– right at this present moment- and gently bringing your mind back to this each time it begins to drift. This can be done while seated in meditation, while walking outside among nature, while getting ready in the morning, etc. Engaging in mindful awareness has been shown to reduce stress, increase GPA, and foster a sense of centeredness or general well-being.[1]  When you are well, you are better able to help those around you. So take a few minutes throughout the day to breathe deeply and experience the world around you.


Exercise: Notice how the chair or ground feels beneath you, how the wind or warmth feels against your face, and what it feels like to take air in and breathe it out. If thoughts are beginning to pull you away from your awareness, simply return your focus gently and compassionately, knowing it is not useful to become angry over fleeting thoughts. Do this for a few minutes.


Rely on Your Truths

Things inevitably get difficult at times. That’s part of life. There’s no way to avoid this but you can always be prepared by knowing what truths help you get through the day. Some people call these mantras or affirmations. Whatever you feel they are for you, find statements that speak to you and help give you the strength you need. These can be quotes you’ve found on Pinterest or passages from The Alchemist or stories from your faith tradition. Set aside time to nourish yourself with the words that make you feel good.


Examples: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” – Arthur Ashe


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

I-AM-WORTHY-I-AM-ENOUGH-630x315 (1).png

“I am Enough, I am Worthy.” – Anonymous   

Practice Reflection

You may have heard the wisdom that says that we have the answers within ourselves –reflection is a great means of accessing that. It is about contemplating on an experience for the purpose of gaining greater personal understanding.

journal  yoga

Contemplative practices include: journaling, meditating, praying, yoga, etc.

Check out the link below to see which activities speak more to you.

Get Involved with Campus Ministry

MSMU offers a community that reaches far beyond academics. With our rich history, values, and mission, you can feel safe knowing you are deeply supported as a whole human being:

Every Mount student is encouraged to grow in their life of faith and their relationship with God. As a Catholic University, our spiritual traditions are steeped in both Catholic intellectual heritage and the roots of our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. But students of every faith tradition are welcomed and encouraged to deepen their own understanding of God’s presence in their lives. You are invited to participate in Campus Ministry programs and to grow as a person of faith, whose life is committed to the service of others and to the unfolding of the mystery of their own purpose and being.”[1]



Check out MSMU’s Campus Ministry site for the latest happenings!




Making Study Time Productive


Making Study Time Productive

An essential part of being a productive student is recognizing the kind of environment that is best suited for your ability to focus and for your individual study style. It’s important to make the most of your time and remove any potential barriers that can hinder your productivity. To help, we’ve compiled a list of study tips to help you be the most productive you!

Remove/minimize distractions

Remove/minimize distractions around you. Turn off your cell phone and television, and stay off social media. Remember to short breaks ( 5-10 minutes) when needed. Plan a study time when there is minimal potential for distractions or interference.  Consider downloading a “focus timer” App to your mobile devices to block distractions outside of break time.


Create the right environment and get comfortable

Silence isn’t always golden.  For some, being in an active place like a coffee shop or listening to familiar music can actually help with focus. Explore whether you work best with no, little, or maximum background noise. Ensure that there is sufficient lighting, and be aware of the temperature your body can work in most comfortably.

music study.jpg


Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, and are avoiding “all-nighters.” Your brain needs sleep to recover in order to retain information most effectively. Choose carefully what you do during your relaxation and down time. Relaxing your mind is important during study breaks, but TV, video games and other stimulating activities may not allow you to relax properly. Exercise, on the other hand, is a great thing to do during a break.


Eat Well 

Eating sugary foods can be bad for your concentration. Try eating healthy green foods and avoid junk food. Also, limit your caffeine intake to avoid crashing.

eat well.jpg

Where to Study

At Home 

Many online students opt to study right at home. This is usually the most convenient option for many online students, but it can also be the most distracting. Find a designated spot in your house; free yourself from all disruptions and get down to business!


During your lunch break 

Your lunch break or between appointments is an excellent time to get some extra studying in for your online courses.



If you are the outdoorsy type, online courses allow you to study alfresco. Whether you’re sitting on your deck or at your favorite park, take advantage of the opportunity to get some extra reading done in the sun!


Top Online Learning Strategies

Top Online Learning Strategies


Time Management

Online courses are attractive to students because the flexibility they offer particularly for those with demanding professional or personal responsibilities. Schedule consistent time blocks during the week that you can devote to coursework, so you don’t fall off track.


Due to the online structure of the course, it’s important to ask questions when assignments are unclear. Remember to use the mode of communication preferred by the instructor (e.g. email, Skype, phone) and to ask questions early. You may not want to wait until the night before an assignment is due to inform your professor you’re struggling with key concepts.

Also, remember to communicate with other students effectively, this is particularly true when working on group projects. You’ll be working with other students who have varying schedules and commitments, so remember to communicate your expectations and time constraints early.


Don’t limit your communication to only your professor. Discussion postings are a great way to engage with other students. These contributions help other students relate the course material to the real world and other areas of study and to deepen your understanding of the material.

Start Early

Begin your work early. Give yourself time to acclimate to your professor’s teaching style. You’ll also want to provide your instructors with a reasonable amount of time to answer your questions, since exchanging emails takes time.

Stay in touch with your Success Coach

Success coaches are there to ensure that our MSMU Online students are taken care of, regardless of where they may be in their academic journey. Success Coaches serve as an extra layer of support to guide our online student population, ensuring that they are provided with accurate and timely information. Whether that be understanding degree requirements, academic policies, or student support services, Success Coaches are always available to help keep our students on track toward their path to graduation.


Balancing Parenthood and Studies with MSMU Online

“I am a mother of two young girls. MSMU Online allowed me to find work/life balance.”

Left to right: Tanya Tran, Admissions Counselor; Helene Woods, A.A  Pre-Health Science ’16; Chris Tsang, Lead Success Coach

A college degree did not come without sacrifices and determination for Helene Woods. She shares with us her experience as a mother and a MSMU Online student.

What did you enjoy most about MSMU Online- why did it fit your lifestyle?

I enjoyed the convenience of MSMU’s Online Pre-Health Science 8 and 16 week course structure.  I also appreciated the student to teacher ratio. MSMU Online low student to teacher ratio allowed for more one-on-one time with my professors. This greatly contributed to my success. When issues came up, my professors were prompt in responding to me via email or Skype. The course syllabus and time lines are formatted for students. They even use a calendar link conveniently linked to your phone or other mobile device, to help you keep track of all your assignments and tests.

MSMU Online made it possible to earn my degree. I am a single mother of two girls and work full time. Without MSMU Online it would not have been possible to earn my degree due to time restraints. In addition to MSMU’s Online convenient online structure, MSMU’s Online affordable tuition made it possible to attend.

What are your goals for the future? 

I made the dean’s list this summer and graduated with a high GPA! MSMU’s Online Pre-Health Science degree helped prepared me for my medical related career. I recently applied to MSMU’s Associate Degree in nursing program and aspire to become a registered nurse. I hope to motivate other students to further their education. If I can do it, they can too!  I cannot envision going anywhere else to further my education. MSMU is home.

What are some misconceptions of earning a degree online?  

Some have the misconception that online course work is easy. Earning a degree online is not easy. MSMU’s Online course content was challenging. MSMU has a reputation to uphold and they pride in providing students a rigorous degree program. The science classes are challenging and in depth, and in many respects as or more challenging than a traditional class setting.

More about Helene:

Helene Woods is a recent graduate of MSMU’s Online A.A Pre-health degree program and has recently applied to MSMU’s on-campus nursing degree program.

If think the MSMU Online Pre-Health degree program may be right for you, learn more here.

Take Control of your Career Webinar

Take Control of Your career

Take Control and advance your career with MSMU Online

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports bachelor’s degree holders can expect to make 84% more than high school graduates.

In today’s job market, employers want to hire and work with versatile people who have a variety of 21st century skill-sets. They also want to see a record of continual learning achievement that demonstrates their competence, creativity and forward-thinking.

As an MSMU online student, you’ll sharpen your digital communication skills and project management skills—invaluable skills that will serve you well as you navigate the 21st century job market.


MSMU Online offers a wealth of career resources, whether you’re looking to move-up within your organization, or start anew.

Please join Brittany Manzer, Associate Director of the Career Services & Internship department at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles as she demonstrates how to take control of your career by utilizing the array of career support services available at MSMU Online.

Join us for an interactive webinar on your lunch break for some quick tips on how to improve your career opportunities and take control of your career.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 12:00 PT / 3:00 ET

MSMU Online announces MFA program!

The Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles MFA is coming to MSMU Online starting fall 2016.

The fully-online MFA is here! You can now enjoy the convenience of earning your Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from wherever you live and work.  The courses are rigorous, imaginative, some will include gaming, and feature the latest in design and technological innovation.


The MFA in Creative Writing at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, is an artist-training program for graduate students who want to write professionally in the genres of novel, short story, playwriting, poetry, screenplay and non-fiction.

Mark your calendars, on October 1st and 2nd, 2016, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles will host the first “Latino/a and Latin American Writers in Los Angeles Conference.” The conference will be profiling the best of what is going on in Latino/a letters in Los Angeles today, and will welcome a mixture of writers, critics, filmmakers, and publishers from across Los Angeles.

Listen to Director Dr. Johnny Payne describe our new cutting-edge Online MFA in Creative Writing program and upcoming Latino/a and Latin American Writers in Los Angeles Conference.

Our MSMU Online MFA professors include poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writer JoAnna Novak. novak-jHer work has been recognized with multiple Pushcart nominations. The author of four chapbooks, her writing has appeared widely in print and online, in publications such as Guernica, BOMB, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Web Conjunctions, Day One, Runner’s World, and Paste. She is also a founding editor of the print journal and chapbook press, Tammy.

What Assistant Professor Novak loves most about the new MSMU Online MFA in Creative Writing program:

-“Students can customize the program to meet their needs. With face-to-face and online courses, MSMU writers face fewer scheduling conflicts than in traditional full-residency MFA programs while gaining more instructor interaction than other no-residency programs can offer.”

-“Our workshops allow students to experiment not only with form but theme. Next spring, for example, I’m teaching a Nonfiction Workshop focused on Food Writing. I love how much variety this builds into the MFA program.”

-“We have variously talented faculty. Everyone teaching in the MFA program has experience working and publishing in multiple genres. This is a huge asset to students, who never need to worry about whether or not their professors will be savvy about how one genre feeds into another.”

-“Bilingual courses are available year-round. Students writing in Spanish will be able to enjoy numerous workshops conducted bilingually.”

-“We’re growing! With a Latino Writers Conference and a student-run literary magazine in the works, MSMU’s MFA program is reaching out to the wider literary community to give students real-world experience in arts administration and small-press publishing.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Online MFA in Creative Writing or applying please visit us online or call 800.860.1959. 



Congrats MSMU Online Grads!

On May 9th, 2016, Mount Saint Mary’s University wrapped up its 90th Anniversary with its annual commencement ceremony, held at the  historic Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. President Ann McElaney-Johnson welcomed 701 graduates to the commencement stage, and several MSMU Online students were among these graduates. We couldn’t be prouder!

MSMU Graduation

It was a packed house at the Shrine Auditorium. Excitement and pride filled the air! More than 6,000 students, faculty, family members and friends attended the ceremony. Just outside the Shrine Auditorium doors, MSMU’s Online Executive Director Dr. Lisa Dawley and Lead Success Chris Tsang patiently awaited our MSMU Online graduates.

pic7Left to Right: Chris Tsang and Dr. Lisa Dawley 


Left to Right: Chris Tsang and Priscilla Falter 

Upon exiting the Shrine Auditorium, graduates were personally congratulated for their HUGE accomplishment by Executive Director Dr.Lisa Dawley, Lead Success Coach Chris Tsang, and Program Assistant Priscilla Falter who presented them with a diploma frame for their well-earned college degree.

Pic2Left to Right: Summer Webber and Ian Lacy,  A.S in Pre-Health Sciences 16′,  MSMU Online 
grad_3Pictured: Ian Lacy,  A.S in Pre-Health Sciences 16′, MSMU Online 

grad_2Pictured: GeorgieAnne Harmon,  A.S in Pre-Health Sciences, MSMU Online 

Making it through college requires hard work, time and dedication. Many of our students balance parenthood, academics, careers, and busy schedules during their studies. Our students truly are #unstoppable .

We are beyond proud of our MSMU Online graduates!



MSMU Online Class of 2016 

Davina Sandoval 

Ian Lacy 

Adina Martinez 

Summer Weber 

Helene Woods 

Chantal Gumpal 

Cynthia Gonzales 

Ashley Gasper 

  GeorgieAnne Harmon