Alumni Testimonials

Ryan Leonard

Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies
, Class of 2021
Ryan Leonard headshot
Every advisor, teacher, and counselor throughout my degree completion was heavily invested in helping me succeed in the classes and helping me to craft and refine the skills [needed] for a career in national security.
Ryan Leonard, Class of 2021
Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies

Q: “Tell us about yourself: your family, friends, interests/ hobbies, and professional experience.”

A: “I am the son of Jack and Debbie Leonard, and I have a younger sister Cait. I am a Freemason in Worcester, MA which I consider all my brothers in the lodge my friend. I also play for a local adult kickball league. My other interests include learning about US history and learning new skills I can apply to my professional development, such as programing and software development. I am a former TSA officer who worked at Boston’s Logan airport. Prior to that, I worked several private security jobs.”

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich?”

A: “I chose Norwich originally in 2012 when I was a senior in high school. I wanted to serve my country, and the Corps of Cadets seemed like the best way to prepare me for future service, and Norwich itself seemed like a great choice to earn a degree. I attended Norwich as a resident until 2014 when I dropped out. I eventually returned to Norwich through the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich?”

A: "Norwich is unique as I feel most other professors at other universities are not as concerned with their student’s success and focus on the class plan. Still, all of my Norwich professors have been immensely motivated to teach the students and be involved in their student's success throughout the course participating in discussions and constructively grading assignments. Norwich’s national security studies program stood out to me as it felt more tailored to my interests rather than a standard homeland security program.”

Q: “Did you have any uncertainties with choosing an online program? If applicable, what was the deciding factor in pursuing an online degree versus a traditional on-campus degree?”

A: “Choosing an online program never affected my decision to return to school. In fact, the online program was better suited to my learning style. I could work during the day and return home to work on my education at my own pace. The online program worked well for me as it forced me to teach myself the class materials. I truly felt I learned the lesson plans and did not just regurgitate correct answers from textbooks and reading materials.”

Q: “Prior to beginning your courses, what were some of your expectations for an online degree program and how were those met or challenged based on your experience with Norwich?”

A: “I never really expected the online degree program to be as involved in my success but rather just to get me through to get the bachelors and send me on my way. This was not the case as every advisor, teacher, and counselor throughout my degree completion was heavily invested in helping me succeed in the classes and helping me to craft and refine the skills [needed] for a career in national security.”

Q: “How do you plan to use your degree in your career?”

A: “I am an applicant for the United States Coast Guard OCS and have applied to several federal agencies seeking a career in analysis. The national security studies program showed me my best asset is my critical thinking and research skills, and I want to be able to utilize those skills to protect the US better.”

Q: “What has been your biggest personal or professional success since starting and/or completing your coursework and degree? How did Norwich help you achieve this goal?”

A: “The biggest success is being able to graduate. I was a dropout from Norwich with little to no ambition for my future, and it resulted in a lengthy work history, jumping from job to job to just pay bills. The decision to return to get my bachelor's and excel in my studies was the first success. Then, to graduate with honors was my greatest success. This success would not have been possible if not for Norwich and its influences on my maturation. ‘I will try,’ the school motto, truly defines my Norwich story, and I am proud that I have not just tried, I achieved.”