Seven years ago, my husband and I decided to take a break from our stressful careers in management and took a six months leave of absence from our jobs to travel to Asia and Europe with our son. When we returned, I decided to dedicate more of myself for a cause I care about and started the North Carolina Chapter of US National Committee for UN Women. Little did I know that this volunteer work was going to take me on a path to a second career as a women’s rights activist. I would love to work for UN Women and/or NGOs focused on empowering women to end violence and poverty. Given I only worked in the private sector and given my undergraduate degree is in computer science and business, I thought a masters degree could help me with the transition to the second career.
After learning more about the liberal studies, global leadership, international studies, women’s studies graduate programs offered by five universities, I decided to apply to the MALS program at NCSU because it was the only program which gives me the flexibility to design my own. After 30 years of professional experience including management in the private sector and 6 years of leadership experience as volunteer for a non-profit, I know what I need to learn and what I want to learn. The flexibility NCSU’s MALS program offer is a perfect fit for me. For my MALS final project, I plan to find out what economic empowerment programs are needed by women in the rural communities of Africa or South East Asia. I am in middle of learning more so I can narrow it down to one or two countries. I hope to include field experience in the final project. My ultimate goal with my MALS final project is to use it as a proposal for an economic empowerment program which could benefit the women and the community.
I also retired in June 2013 after 30 years of service at IBM. My husband now frequently asks me if I am going to use my AARP card or NCSU student id to get discounts. I tell him both: whichever gives me the best deal. I am all about flexibility.