Student Interview with Nora Kzirian
October 5, 2016
Nora Kzirian is finishing up her MS in Professional Studies degree this winter. When she began looking for a program in 2012, she knew she she had to find a program that fit her needs. “The challenge was how to make time for it and to be able to see it all the way through. In order to make my dream a reality, I needed to find a program that was exclusively online and would complement my undergraduate degree in Communication.”
Like many adult students, Nora didn’t enter graduate school immediately after completing her undergraduate degree. Instead, she gained work experience. Nora works here in Philadelphia at Comcast, where she is a Senior Manager, Customer Communications and Marketing for Comcast Business. Work experience is an integral part of one’s journey, but returning to academia ten years later can present challenges. It is one of the biggest concerns for most returning students. Nora told me, “My online educational experience started rocky. I had not been a student for nearly a decade and at that point had forgotten many of the rules for academic writing.”
Nora focused on three things to ensure a satisfying and rewarding academic experience: take it slow and steady, build relationships, and look for synergies between work and school. The last focal point is particularly important because when a student can marry something he or she is learning in the classroom to something happening at work, the student learns more, and that learning experience will remain with him or her. Nora noted, “Since I was already working in the field for which I was studying, I was able to think through real life situations and apply it to key learnings throughout the quarter. It was the moments of synergy where I really found value in pursuing this degree.”
I asked Nora to tell me about her favorite class. She described her Learning Technologies and Disabilities Class (one of the classes taken as part of the E-Learning Leadership concentration for the older version of the MS in Professional Studies degree). “It allowed me to see the world in a different way. I always knew about ways we accommodate the disabled community, but it was transformational for me to learn about universal design benefitting all people, e.g. elderly, families with young children, etc.” As Nora concludes her degree, her capstone project focuses on accessibility issues in E-Learning – a project fully intertwined with her work at Comcast.
Finally, I asked Nora what her MS in Professional Studies degree means to her. “It means I can tell my children that if you set a goal, you can find many different ways to achieve it. It could take a lot of time and energy, but it will feel good to be accomplished.”
Join me in wishing well as Nora achieves her goals and fulfills her dreams.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Director, Graduate Studies