Alumni Testimonials

Deborah Ross-San Soucie

Master of Public Administration
, Class of 2013
The master’s program helped my colleagues, who have known me in the organization for the past 16 years, see me in a new light with new ideas, skills, and knowledge to share.
Deborah Ross-San Soucie, Class of 2013
Master of Public Administration

Q: “Tell us a bit about you as a person.”
A: “I have lived in the Pacific northwest my entire life. I went to college in the eastern half of my state, met a guy from my hometown, and then returned to my hometown to work, buy a home, and raise a family. I have two children, a dog, and a minivan. I’ve volunteered with PTA, Girl Scouts, and various charity organization fundraisers. I am passionate about family history research, reading, and travel.”

Q: “Describe briefly your professional life.”
A: “I have served for 16 years with the Public Works and Utilities Department of Pierce County, Washington. In those years, I have held eight different positions, working my way up from the receptionist to my current position as a strategic planner.”

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “While I had a bachelor’s degree in history, I knew that in order to advance my career in an industry dominated by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professionals, I needed additional education. Since I have a decade and a half of public service experience, the MPA program seemed to be the best avenue for advancing my career and knowledge.” 

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich and how did you learn about it?”
A: “I learned of Norwich through my agency’s affiliation with the American Public Works Association. While at a conference, and also in the association’s monthly magazine, there were advertisements for Norwich’s MPA program. Initially, I was intrigued by the idea of concentrating in public works management, but once in the program, the organizational leadership concentration made more sense.”

Q: “What do you think makes Norwich unique?”
A: “The rich tradition of the school hit me right off. During the online orientation, I learned about the history of the organization and its values. For someone who would only visit the campus to graduate, that gave me a bit more of a connection to my online school.”

Q: “How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your education?”
A: “I loved the opportunity to put my mind back into formal learning mode. It had been nearly 17 years since I attended school and the personal enrichment of learning something new was revitalizing to me. It has also directly led to my promotion one month ago to a strategic planner position. The master’s program helped my colleagues, who have known me in the organization for the past 16 years, see me in a new light with new ideas, skills, and knowledge to share.”

Q: “What aspects of your Norwich experience will you carry most strongly with you?”
A: “I will most strongly carry the commitment to self-improvement and lifelong learning that was reinvigorated by my Norwich experience.”

Q: “Anything else you wish to share about how Norwich has impacted your life?”
A: “The MPA program helped me go from a person who worked on tasks related to our department’s management to someone who is involved in the conversation of the department’s future.”