Mike Vlahovich '15

"The program truly has great instructors and students who represent a vast array of diverse backgrounds including social, cultural, age gender and race, which brings a wealth of perspectives to the topics we cover. The residency experience is also powerful and a place to make connections and network with professionals in the field but also a place to build lifelong friendships."

Michael Vlahovich was raised in the Pacific Northwest in a culture of Croatian salmon fisherman and wooden boat builders.  The vast majority of his working life has been spent at sea and on working waterfronts.  Michael entered into the non-profit heritage preservation and education field about 20 years ago.  He has been instrumental in founding two successful organizations as well as a large, on-going maritime festival.  Although semi-retired, Michael still works part time for the non-profit Coastal Heritage Alliance which provides public benefit services on the Chesapeake Bay and in the Puget Sound region. His looks forward to completing his degree program at Goucher and sharing his knowledge and experience with others as a college teacher.


What do you find unique to the program?

The program truly has great instructors and students who represent a vast array of diverse backgrounds including social, cultural, age gender and race, which brings a wealth of perspectives to the topics we cover. The residency experience is also powerful and a place to make connections and network with professionals in the field but also a place to build lifelong friendships.

 

What has stood out to you about Goucher's Cultural Sustainability program?

Although it had been my hope and desire from the beginning to gain practical knowledge and experience through the program, I am continually and pleasantly surprised that everything I have learned and studied has been completely applicable to my work in the field. 

How does the limited residency format support your busy schedule?

One residency per year has been my approach to the MACS program.  If I could afford it, I would participate in more.  Carving out 10 to 20 days a year to be away from home and work is a challenge but well worth the outcomes.

How has the program's coursework impacted your professional work aspirations?

The leadership course was instrumental in me running for elected office in my town. Also, The Intro to Cultural Sustainability course is what got me interested in heritage tourism, and consequently allowed me to develop and implement a state wide heritage training program within the watermen communities of the Chesapeake Bay. The Partnership course continues to be of benefit since many of the projects and grants I am involved with involve multiple partners including non-profits, municipalities, government agencies, and private businesses.

What would share with incoming students about your experience in the program?

I came to Goucher at age 60 and that was five years ago.  I already had extensive life experience that helped me to pinpoint what I wanted and needed to learn in order to improve upon my professional line of work.   This was a huge advantage because I had a ready-made outlet to apply most of the knowledge I gained through Cultural Sustainability program. This helped me to try things out and put academic know-how into practice.  I would want incoming students to know that seeking out opportunities to practice what you learn through MACS can have huge benefits in enhancing your graduate program experience.