Alumni Testimonials

Brenda Rios

, Class of 2013
The master’s in diplomacy, with a concentration in conflict management and dispute resolution, gave me just that focused curriculum I was looking for.
Brenda Rios, Class of 2013

Q: “Brenda, tell us a bit about you as a person.”
A: “I was originally born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and moved to Houston, Texas with my family in 1998. As a first generation immigrant, I’ve had the experience to learn the cultural and language differences early on in my life, and that’s something that motivated me to focus on in my career. I love to play the piano at church, travel, spend time with friends and family, and challenge myself. Prior to my graduate studies, I received my BBA in international business with a concentration in marketing.”

Q: “What is your current employer?”
A: “I currently work at the U.S. Department of State as a foreign affairs officer student trainee. Through this position, I’ve been able to work under the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), a unit within the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau – Office of Commercial and Business Affairs, that spurs and promotes entrepreneurship around the world by coordinating the work of partners in the private, public, non-profit, and academic sectors to improve the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in emerging and developing countries. In the last three years, I’ve provided both administrative and programmatic support.”

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “Definitely my work environment persuaded me to learn more about diplomacy and to understand better our foreign policy agenda. I also wanted a more specific degree rather than just a regular MBA, especially because my undergraduate studies were in international business, but I wanted to learn more on international relations and politics. The master’s in diplomacy, with a concentration in conflict management and dispute resolution, gave me just that focused curriculum I was looking for.”

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich and how did you learn about the institution?”
A: “First, I chose Norwich because of its strength in military studies, its broad experience in the diplomatic field, and diverse faculty that also has great experience in the field. Second of all, I thought that an online program would give me the flexibility I needed while working full time in another city.”

Q: “What do you believe makes Norwich unique?”
A: “I think what makes Norwich unique is the format of the program. Although it sounds like a traditional military university, the program and curriculum was up-to-date, modernized, and overall diverse in its faculty and student population. I also loved the fact that we had residency as one of our graduation requirements because I could see how many people were actually in my program and where in the world they were located.

Q: “How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your education?”
A: “Although it might be too early to say, my master’s from Norwich has helped me in finding a permanent position at the state department and getting promoted to a higher grade. It has also given me more network connections outside of my field that are still relevant for my professional growth.”

Q: “Anything else you would like to share about the impact of Norwich on your life?”
A: “Overall, I am very glad I graduated from Norwich University! It makes me proud to be a part of history.”