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Bring Your Passion to Life with Norwich's MPA Degree


My name is Laura Weigler and I am a Master's of public administration student here at Norwich. I am part of the nonprofit management concentration. I work at Southwest Airlines as an analyst and our strategic planning. So I juggle two kids, full time job, and Norwich here. It's been an incredible experience, walking through, juggling all of that.

I started with the master's in nonprofit administration, part of our public administration here at Norwich University because I've always had a passion for community, for nonprofit. My husband and I are very involved in the charitable community in the Dallas area.

I'm also very involved at Southwest. Any time you can combine your passions with an airline, or your job. That's the golden sweet spot, to be able to combine your passions with your profession and what you love.

So when I started down the path at Norwich I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to be doing with nonprofit, I just really felt called to peruse that path. I started going down that path and had a great education going through the beginning of the program. Then we really started getting into the nonprofit piece and it started tying a little more in with what I do now and with where I'd like to go

I think one of the things that is exciting about the public administration master's program here at Norwich is that there are a lot of different directions you can go with it. If you look at our class of cohorts we have people working in so many different areas. It's been really incredible to hear their stories because we all came out of a MPA program with different concentrations and different focuses.

But as we've walked through with all the cohorts we've encouraged each other, we've looked to see what folks are doing, and they're all chasing different paths and have been successful in finding different passion points as they were going through. The program really has driven those passion points. Now people are pursuing those passions and seeing a career change that they may have never anticipated.

This is for me, I dreamed to be able to combine my passions and my profession. I've worked in technology for 18 years at Southwest. My background is nonprofit initially, and I worked with nonprofit, but I never thought that I would get to do this. Because of what I've learned here at Norwich, because of the passion points, because it took me down a research path. I got to really explore an area that was a little newer for me in the sustainability. I started putting everything together.

The residency program, I think, is what makes Norwich. There are a lot of online programs out there, but one of the things I was looking for when I looked for a master's program was one that had online and an experience at the brick and mortar school.

I love the Norwich tradition. I love the history. And I love that it’s been around forever. And so for whatever reason, Norwich just appealed to me, and who I am, and the values that I have. It has been the perfect fit for me in a program. And to me, the residency just finishes it off.

I will admit that coming in and living in a dorm for a week and feeling like you're kind of in that cadet world was kind of an experience in and of itself. But it's a lot of fun. It's fun to have that adventure, and to do the Dog River Run, and do the hikes. It's a beautiful, beautiful setting.

Grad school's not going to be easy for anybody but walking into this program I have two 11 year old children, I have a full time career at Southwest that's very busy, and a full time graduate program. I guess I just want people to know that you can do it. It's a short time period, it's gonna fly by before you know it. It went so fast. It was intense, but it was worth every minute.