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Holly Schweiger-Hoak

MS Higher Education Administration, Class of 2017

"I became inspired to build a career in the field of higher education, and completing my (masters) was an important part of that goal. "

Although Holly Schwieger-Hoak started her college education right out of high school, she didn't complete her undergraduate degree until many years later. "I like to joke that I was on the 30-year plan," she said.

While working for a nonprofit, Schwieger-Hoak observed the continued growth and availability of online programs and hybrid courses being offered by colleges and universities. "I became inspired to build a career in the field of higher education, and completing my MS in Higher Education Administration was an important part of that goal," she said. She also wanted to leverage her decades of work experience and professional skills.

In April 2015, she enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University's online master's program. For Schwieger-Hoak, online learning was the perfect match for her lifestyle and learning needs. In her opinion, what sets SNHU apart from other online learning institutions is the personal touch. "The advising support and availability of the instructors is extremely important in a virtual classroom," she said. "SNHU works hard to ensure the students know they are personally supported."

Schwieger-Hoak was impressed with her program's comprehensive coursework, which covered the evolution of higher education, from its historical roots to current issues in the field, including program development, budgeting, marketing and more. "Higher education's foundational principals continue to drive decision-making today, which can create additional or associated challenges," she said.

Schwieger-Hoak is moving to California and has begun her job search feeling confident and prepared. Because of the state's significant non-traditional student population, she is exploring career paths in the community college system. "I'd love to work in a face-to-face environment in a student services and support role," she said.