Anne Brock knew that she wanted to go back to a school for a master’s degree. Which area of study to choose was another matter.
“While I’ve been working in public health, I considered that pathway,” she said. “I was passionate about dietetics, but I knew I didn’t want a master’s degree in that area. I wanted something that made me a little bit more diverse.”
Brock found what she was looking for in the online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program at Eastern Washington University (EWU). She is on track to complete the program in August 2022.
“During the COVID-19 healthcare relief, I had an opportunity to work within our incident command structure, which taught me a lot about leadership,” she said. “I met some individuals who had taken that same pathway with their master’s degree in organizational leadership.
“It clicked for me that was what I was passionate about. I want to be a leader in my community and help others learn and grow, so I landed on the organizational leadership master’s degree.”
Brock is a registered dietician for Southwest District Health in Caldwell, Idaho. She and her husband, Nic, have a daughter, Vivian (3).
“The online format has worked out well,” she said. “Luckily, the professors are pretty understanding. I work full time and have a young child. I have a lot going on in my life. Even with all of that, I have been able to stay on top of my school and still learn. It’s flexible.”
Food for Thought
Brock is from Twin Falls, Idaho, where she developed an interest in her career path while taking medical courses in high school.
“One of the teachers I came across at that time was a dietician,” she said. “When I got a chance to talk to her about it, I figured it was the path I wanted to take. I wanted to help people and be in healthcare, but I do not handle a lot of blood or bodily fluids well.
“It was something on the healthcare path, and I could do something I love. I love to try new foods and educate people. I needed something that fit in that realm. It was the spot for me.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Idaho in 2015, Brock gained real-world experience before returning to higher education last year.
“I chose EWU because of the accelerated online option,” she said. “I liked that you still have deadlines to meet. That helps me stay on track more and accomplish that goal I am working toward. Tuition was also the right price.
“When EWU representatives called me, I didn’t feel any pressure. They took time to answer my concerns and help me through the financial aid process. They were very accommodating, which made me feel welcome.”
So far, Ethical Leadership is Brock’s favorite course in the online M.S. in Organizational Leadership curriculum, although she has enjoyed and learned from each one she has taken.
“Ethical Leadership is applicable to what I am going through right now,” she said. “It helped tie a lot of things together between my team leadership, individual leadership and my own growth.
“It made me aware of the questions I should be asking and how to handle things as a leader. It not only helps me — but also the organization that I plan to work in and the community that I serve — if I am able to lead more ethically from some of the tips from that course.”
During Brock’s time in the online master’s degree program, her family and friends have helped her achieve her goal and become the first person in her immediate family to earn a master’s degree.
“They are excited,” she said. “Everyone has been very supportive. I have family and friends jump in and help with my little one.
“My husband has been great. He helps prepare meals, clean the house and pick up the slack. I enjoy talking to them about what I am learning. It’s applicable to a lot of different things in life.”
Brock enjoys cooking, gardening and the outdoors in her free time, and she believes that the versatility of a degree in organizational leadership will lead to more career opportunities for her after graduation.
“I want to find a leadership role,” she said. “This program has opened my mind to maybe have an opportunity to try something different — that’s the benefit of the diversity in the degree. It opens it up to more options.”
For Brock, the key to success in the online M.S. in Organizational Leadership program is going into it with a growth mindset.
“Have an open mind, knowing the type of leadership where you are but being willing to learn about what else is out there,” she said. “I got good value out of the program — probably more than I was anticipating. You are excited to apply what you learn. It’s been super helpful and fun to learn about.”
Learn more about EWU’s online M.S. in Organizational Leadership program.