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Taking the Next Step

A veteran and post-traditional student advances her career through Syracuse University Global.
Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24 working on Syracuse University Global from home.

U.S. Navy veteran and National Guard member Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24 is studying creative leadership through Syracuse University Global.

Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24 doesn’t have a lot of time to spare. As a National Guard member, part-time fitness instructor and full-time employee, she knows it’s crucial to balance her schedule. “I'm just that person who’s always running a million miles an hour,” she says. She had been interested in going back to school to gain greater management skills but was wary of the time constraints. So when a representative from Syracuse University came to speak with the veterans working with the U.S. Air Force at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base about continuing their education utilizing their flexible learning formats, she was intrigued.

Photographs of Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24 while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Morris-Mitchell was in the Navy Construction Battalion—better known as the Seabees—where she helped build temporary and permanent infrastructure at U.S. military locations.

Syracuse University Global’s flexibility offered just what she needed to finally take the leap. “Sometimes I wonder why I signed up for school—did I forget I had a full-time job? But I feel like there's no perfect time to jump back into it,” Morris-Mitchell says. She’s now pursuing a degree in creative leadership through the College of Professional Studies. “I am hoping to learn how to better present myself in a position of leadership, and this program is a perfect avenue.”

Morris-Mitchell’s motivation to advance in her role as a manager for the Hart Agency, a marketing company in Syracuse, is what prompted her to pursue her studies. She’s confident the courses she’s taking will teach her critical management skills. Courses in the creative leadership program include project management, negotiating and interpersonal communications.

My online classes are very user-friendly. I love that my professors respond quickly to questions and provide clarification outside of class.

⁠Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24

Morris-Mitchell says she’s learning critical skills she can apply in any position anywhere. “A degree in creative leadership will help me be a better manager and leader—no matter where I go or what I do.” She’s already applied some of the lessons she’s learned from her classes into her work, including active listening skills. Something she never considered important to management—reading an employee’s body language—has also been a useful skill she’s started incorporating with her direct reports during meetings or discussions.

Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24 working on Syracuse University Global from home.

Syracuse University Global’s flexibility offered just what Morris-Mitchell needed to balance schoolwork with her full-time job as a manager for a marketing company.

Part-time Studies, Full-time Support

In addition to the diverse course offerings and flexible learning formats, Morris-Mitchell has access to Syracuse University’s world-class faculty and comprehensive and student-focused academic support. “My online classes are very user-friendly,” she says, adding that her professors are extremely accessible and supportive. “I love that my professors respond quickly to questions and provide clarification outside of class.” She particularly enjoyed learning from Professor Stewart Koenig in her Assertiveness in the Workplace for Professional Studies class. “Professor Koenig was so engaging and involved, which made everybody really want to be there. We learned about skills that make effective leaders that I never thought of before.”

During her online courses, she’s able to connect with her classmates, who include several other veterans and active-duty military members, during the group breakout sessions. Attending classes with other students who share the same background gives Morris-Mitchell, who was in the Navy Construction Battalion, something besides academics to bond over.

A degree in creative leadership will help me be a better manager and leader—no matter where I go or what I do.

⁠Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24

The University’s commitment to veterans was a factor in her decision to attend Syracuse University. It was important to Morris-Mitchell, who was recently honored as a Hometown Hero at a women’s lacrosse game, to be associated with a university that understood the unique challenges of being a military veteran and made her feel highly regarded and respected. She’s grateful to have access to a wide range of veterans services offered at Syracuse University through the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs if she needs them.

Overall, working toward a degree through Syracuse University Global has been a great success for Morris-Mitchell. “Finding balance to get it all done is crucial. My supportive classmates, professors and Syracuse University Global all work together to help me meet my goals.”

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