Alumni Testimonials

Diane Leach

Master of Science in Nursing
, Class of 2013
I have dedicated my life to the service of others as a mom and nurse, but now want to expand professionally. I am not sure where the next chapter will take me, but I thank Norwich for giving me back the confidence to go out and make a difference.
Diane Leach, Class of 2013
Master of Science in Nursing

Q: “Tell us about you as a person, Diane.”
A: “I am the first in my family to go to college and have resided in Williston, Vermont, since I graduated from the University of Vermont, having grown up in the rural Northeast Kingdom of this state. I have two beautiful daughters, one of whom is an elementary teacher in Charlotte, Vermont, and the younger an animal sciences, pre-veterinarian student at the University of Rhode Island. I love to garden and enjoy the perennial gardens around my home.”

Q: “What is your current employer and briefly describe your professional life.”
A: “I have been a nurse for 30 years at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont. It is a 500-bed, academic, level 1 medical center associated with the University of Vermont. I currently serve as the nursing director of clinical care and emergency services. I oversee the medical ICU, surgical ICU, pediatric ICU, cardiology telemetry unit, cardiothoracic and vascular unit, emergency department, and the administrative nurse supervisors who are in-house on all off-shifts, weekends, and holidays. I have been a staff nurse, educator, manager, financial analyst, quality and regulatory consultant, and director of nursing.”

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “I had wanted to get my master’s degree for over two decades, but working and family needs came first. This was a dream unrealized and after encouragement from colleagues, I found myself on a wonderful journey that culminated the summer of 2013.”

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich and how did you learn about it?”
A: “I knew about Norwich as a native Vermonter, but had a personal encounter with the military when I took an undergraduate ROTC course in lieu of a physical education credit at UVM. The mountaineering course involved compass reading, map reading, hiking, wilderness survival, and a course culminating with an overnight hike on Mount Mansfield. I got lost during compass reading at the Underhill range, hiked in snowshoes for the first time with 25 pounds on my back, and then they asked us if we were interested in a career in the military. I never thought I would ever encounter Norwich again, but the experiential-work-related learning model, flexible course work allowed, and the very friendly administrative and clinical staff I spoke to, made the decision easy for me. After some personal life-changing events resulting in a 15-month delay in beginning my program after acceptance, Norwich was patiently waiting and supportive in every way.”

Q: “What do you think makes Norwich unique?”
A: “Norwich University knows how to embrace and challenge adult learners who are working full-time and managing life’s stressors. Every instructor I had was incredibly supportive as unexpected situations came up or help was requested. No other institution I spoke to would take the time to ask what would work best for me and what I wanted out of a program.”

Q: “How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your education?”
A: “At a time in my life when my confidence was shaken, my belief in myself fractured, and my future uncertain, my master’s program gave me a focus. My instructors’ positive reinforcement and guidance helped me find what I had lost inside and more. I have become reenergized in my professional life, found direction in my personal life, and I now see the opportunities that are open to me professionally.” 

Q: “What aspects of your Norwich experience will you carry most strongly with you?”
A: “I am so proud to be an alumna of this university as I have come to understand the legacy that it represents. Honor and integrity, doing the right thing, standing up for what I believe, have all been tenets that I have embodied in leadership for many years. I have dedicated my life to the service of others as a mom and nurse, but now want to expand professionally. I am not sure where the next chapter will take me, but I thank Norwich for giving me back the confidence to go out and make a difference. I know I can do that in the next 15 years of my career.”