Vanessa FarinelliVanessa Farinelli
Account Executive, Learfield Sports at The University of Rhode Island, Master's in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Sports Leadership

“I realized that in order to pursue my dream of working in collegiate athletics, I needed to continue my education to stay relevant in the job search,” says Vanessa. “As the sports industry continues to develop and become more popular, standing out and differentiating yourself becomes key!”

After Vanessa applied to a graduate position through the athletics department of Marquette University, she learned about the graduate program in sports leadership. Studying leadership with a sports specialization directly relates to her current professional work in sports and future career goals, which was an important factor when Vanessa was considering where she would continue her education.

“The experiences I had and the relationships I developed with people while at Marquette have proven invaluable to me as I continue to work and gain experience in my current role,” she says. An added bonus was having classes scheduled in the evenings, which worked very well with her schedule.

“Continuing my education was important to gain valuable experience working in collegiate athletics and also increase my knowledge of the industry.”

Bruce RoweBruce Rowe
Family Physician - Columbia-St. Mary’s Community Physicians, Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies

Bruce has been a practicing family physician at the Glendale Clinic, part of the Columbia-St. Mary's Community Physicians, for the last fifteen years.  His leadership roles include serving as co-medical director of the clinic as well as Chief of the Medicine Division at Columbia-St. Mary's Ozaukee campus. “As I began to assume greater responsibility for administrative and leadership functions, I felt that I needed more experience and training in the arena of leadership and business organizational behavior in order to be the most effective leader and physician representative possible,” says Bruce.        

While Bruce was serving as a preceptor for the Marquette Physician Assistant Program, he heard about the graduate program in leadership studies.  “It was an exciting prospect to me because it seemed like a unique program tailored to meet my goals and needs,” he says.  With a busy clinical practice, and three children in multiple activities, physically attending classes on campus was a daunting prospect.  “I was thrilled to hear of the fully online option for the leadership certificate; it has been the best of both worlds - close faculty interaction, while at the same time granting me the flexibility to complete my homework assignments anytime and anywhere,”  he remarks.  In addition, the online class format gives Bruce the flexibility needed to continue participating in the activities he enjoys, such as membership in his local Rotary Club, singing in various choral groups, playing trumpet and piano, reading, bicycling, watching college football, and serving as assistant coach for his daughter’s basketball team. 

“My goal is to utilize my leadership education and experience in a physician administrative role in the Columbia-St. Mary’s system, or in another leadership position,” says Bruce. 

Crystal MorganCrystal Morgan
Marketing Manager - Alliance for Children and Families, Master's in Leadership Studies with a Nonprofit Specialization '13

After Crystal was laid off from her job as a senior marketing analyst at a large corporation in Chicago, she moved back to her hometown of Milwaukee.  As she began to do a lot of free-lance marketing and volunteer work in the city, Crystal noticed community problems that needed attention.  As a result, she welcomed her current career opportunity which allows her to utilize her for-profit experience within a nonprofit member association that supports the needs of children and families throughout the city and the nation. 

Crystal decided it was time to continue her education in order to learn more about successful leadership techniques and the nonprofit industry to support and advance her career.  As she was researching different nonprofit master’s degree programs, Crystal was impressed with the testimonials on the College of Professional Studies website.  “After meeting with program representatives to learn more about the benefits of the program, I knew Marquette was the perfect school for me,” she remarks. 

As part of her educational experience, Crystal has learned how to balance school with her job, family, friends, and volunteer work with the YMCA teen achievers program and other community projects.  “I like to plan my schedule in the early part of the week and spend time at Marquette or Starbucks every weekend to finish my weekly assignments,” Crystal says.  “There are certain sacrifices I need to make now to maintain my high GPA, but I know these short-term sacrifices will have long-term benefits.  After graduation I hope to continue to advance my career within the nonprofit sector.  I will utilize Marquette’s mission of leadership, service, faith and excellence throughout my career and my life.”

Mary Lynn NowakMary Lynn Nowak
Program Manager, Business Skills Training -
Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Master's in Leadership Studies with a Dispute Resolution Specialization

As an employee at Harley-Davidson, Mary Lynn has learned that leadership and the process of growing leaders is embraced at all levels.  After seeing a flyer posted at the company about the graduate program in Leadership Studies, Mary Lynn talked with her manager about the potential benefits of the program, and she received positive feedback about the value of gaining leadership skills that employers are looking for.     

Since Mary Lynn received her law degree from Marquette University in 2006, she already knew that Marquette fosters a caring atmosphere and offers great student service.  With a strong belief in lifelong learning, she made a decision to continue her journey and enhance her education with a master’s degree in Leadership Studies through the College of Professional Studies.  She was able to tailor the program to complement her law background by choosing a specialization in Dispute Resolution. 

“No matter what role I am in, I will gain a solid base in leadership and ethics, which will be helpful to my professional and personal life,” says Mary Lynn.  “My master’s degree in Leadership Studies will allow me to bring leadership qualities to my work team and hopefully help advance my career.  I plan to become a greater asset to my employer and hopefully serve as a mentor to new employees.” 

Jonathan FreyerJonathan Freyer
Civil Affairs Officer - United States Army,
Master's in Leadership Studies '14

Jonathan’s military career has included deployment to Iraq (2005-2006) and Kosovo (2007-2008) as a Civil Affairs Officer. While he was working as a Senior Military Science Instructor with Marquette’s Army ROTC detachment, he learned about the graduate program in Leadership Studies and decided this program would help to increase his personal leadership qualities and skills.   “After completing my first semester, I decided to resign my position with the Army ROTC program and attend graduate school full-time so I can focus on completing my studies in a timely manner and have time to get my three kids ready for school each day and interact with them,” he says. 

Jonathan was mobilized by his Army Reserve unit to serve in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  During his deployment, Jonathan worked as a Civil Affairs Officer, as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team, with a mission to help improve the capacity of the host nation to govern itself.   He has returned home with his second Purple Heart!

Jonathan is returning to Marquette to complete his degree, and will continue to serve as an officer in the United States Army Reserve. His goal is to find civilian work focused on providing leadership training to children that need mentorship or guidance.  “I have always enjoyed working with children and would like to use my leadership experience and knowledge to help children become effective members of their local community,” he says. 

Congratulations to Major Jonathan Freyer for earning his second Purple Heart!

Sidny HarkerSidny Harker
Reservation & Event Services Operations Manager - Carroll University, Master's in Leadership Studies with a Sports Leadership Specialization '13

When Sidny heard about Marquette’s graduate program in Leadership Studies with a Sports Leadership specialization, she decided to continue her education to gain knowledge on how to become an effective leader in the sports industry.  She was drawn to Marquette for their reputation of excellence in education.  “I knew the education I would receive at Marquette would not only contribute to my current position, but help to prepare me professionally for any future positions I may hold,” says Sidny. 

As the Regional Director of Sports for Special Olympics Wisconsin in the Greater Milwaukee Region, Sidny provides year-round sports training and Olympic-type competitions for both youth and adults with cognitive disabilities.   She serves as a volunteer manager for the region working with different community and school based programs to provide programming for the athletes in the region.  In addition, Sidny volunteers her time to serve as an assistant coach for a high school varsity girls’ basketball team once or twice each week.

“With smart time management and some flexibility offered by professors who understand that I have a full-time job and personal responsibilities, I have been able to balance school, work and my personal responsibilities,” remarks Sidny.  “By furthering my education I hope to improve my leadership skills to benefit those I work with now and in the future.” 

Alan BlaskowskiAlan Blaskowski -
Vice President and Relationship Manager -
BMO Retirement Services, Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies '13 

Upon completion of industry designations and licenses needed in his profession, Alan was looking for a program that would help him prepare for future leadership opportunities in his career and community.  “As a leading academic institution in Milwaukee, Marquette University was the first school I inquired with about a leadership program,” says Alan.  “I choose the Leadership Studies program because it offers a balance of practical skills and values-based principles that provide the necessary lessons and competencies to excel in leadership positions.” 

Alan likes the convenience of the blended on-campus and online classes, which allows him to balance school with commitments to his job requiring business travel, his wife and two-year-old son, and community involvement.  After attending class one night each week, Alan manages his study time by doing some reading each night and dedicating three-hour blocks of time on his calendar two times each week to complete his assignments. 

“I hope to use the lessons and skills attained during my coursework in the Leadership Studies certificate program as I continue to progress in my career and continue my community involvement as a new member of the Board of Directors for Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center,” remarks Alan. 

Armen SaryanArmen Saryan
Producer - WTMJ Radio, Master's in Leadership Studies with a Sports Leadership Specialization

Armen earned his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication at Marquette University and interned at WTMJ Radio, which led to getting hired as a producer after graduation. The thought about going back to school to get his master’s degree was always in the back of Armen’s mind, but it wasn’t something he was actively pursuing. When he heard about Marquette’s new graduate program in Sports Leadership it seemed like a natural fit with his career goals and he decided it was the right time.

“I enrolled in the Sports Leadership program because it combines my love of sports with my desire to be a quality leader and advance my career,” remarks Armen. “I knew the program would be good because of Marquette University’s great academic reputation and resources.” He was also drawn to the flexibility of the program, which allows students to balance school, work and personal responsibilities by attending part-time on weeknights and taking some classes online.

Starting with his first class, Armen was able to immediately put the leadership theories he was learning about into practice at work to help improve teamwork through collaborative synergy. “This program is helping me enhance my interactions with people in my business and personal life. Since ethics is a huge focus, I am learning how to apply what I learn in a positive way and make the best impact in the world around me.”







Contact College of Professional Studies

Email the college

Marquette University College of Professional Studies
707 Building, Room 403
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-3153 or (800) 793-6450, extension 2
FAX: (414) 288-3298