Balancing a team leadership position at a national laboratory, having a full-time family, and being a student working on her Master of Science in Security and Resilience Studies (SRS) takes extraordinary time management skills—thank goodness that’s an area Jessica Hibler excels at. In her current position as a project manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) every day looks a little different. Bouncing between meetings, updating various projects, and learning new tasks might seem like enough for some people, but not for Jessica.
“I wanted to pursue this degree as a way to grow and evolve,” said Jessica. “This program is very applicable with what I do in my current position and where I want to go with my career. At PNNL you can constantly reinvent yourself and this program offered me just one more way to stay relevant and improve upon my skillset.”
When she decided to go back to school, Jessica knew she wanted to earn a Master of Science to balance the Bachelor of Arts she already had. And the Master of Science in SRS provided her the perfect opportunity.
“I am a sustainability manager who works with international partners. And a lot of that focus is on security and resiliency,” said Jessica. “This program seemed like a natural fit for where I am and where I want to grow professionally.”
The program is also available online, which helped her balance her busy workload.
“Northeastern is a very well-known and accredited college,” said Jessica. “The combination of the SRS program and the school’s reputation, made it very fascinating to me.”
Jessica’s first exposure with international travel came when she joined the Air National Guard.
“I was able work at a couple temporary duty locations, including Turkey and Kuwait,” said Jessica. “These gave me an international experience that I hadn’t had before, and they allowed me the opportunity to realize that I enjoyed traveling and meeting people from different cultures.”
The lessons she learned and the experiences she had helped her grow into her current role at PNNL. In this position, her work mainly focuses on international relationships and building partner country rapport. Two areas which she is very excited about expanding her knowledge in through the SRS program.
In her first class, Security and Resilience Policy, Jessica immediately knew the lessons and coursework could be applied to her work and that she’d be able take these lessons to the real-world.
“One of the topics was on pandemics. We were talking about recent flu, SARS, and different events that happen. The literature was saying we were overdue for another pandemic and not prepared for one,” said Jessica. “And then COVID-19 happened and we talked about how relevant this information was.”
Her coursework looked at lessons learned from previous examples. And just like those examples, she hopes that there will be lessons from the current situation and how security and resiliency can be applied in the future. The class she most recently completed was on international security.
“The class was very applicable to what I do for work,” said Jessica. “Each of these classes really make you think about where we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.”
The SRS program offers many classes that Jessica is looking forward to taking, everything from security policies to cybersecurity resiliency—topics that she’ll be able to take back to her work and improve herself.
“That’s my real motivation,” said Jessica. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I know it’s a lot of workload, but you must decide why you’re doing this. What is the value of it? To me this is my goal, and I’m going to meet it.”
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