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M.A. Alumna Helps Veterans Transition to Academia

Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Pictured is Master of Arts in organizational leadership alumna Ann Rairigh.


Ann Rairigh was looking for a master’s degree program that focused on organizational development while allowing her to cultivate her passion for helping veterans pursue higher education.

“As a military spouse, I have seen the challenges veterans face when they return home,” said Rairigh, whose husband Matthew is in his 12th year of service in the Army Reserve.

“The Master of Arts in organizational leadership at Point Park seemed like a great fit,” said Rairigh, who focused her capstone project on helping veterans transition from military to academic life.  Her project—which she titled “Creating a Veteran-Friendly University”— also helped her land a master’s degree level position as director of veteran services at the University of Pittsburgh.

Rairigh was hired to grow Pitt’s Office of Veterans Services—and so far she has exceeded her goals.  She has added several staff members and created various programs supporting the admission, retention, career development and academic success of veteran students.  As a result, veteran student enrollment has grown 108% since she started.

“Ann embodies leadership and reflects a dedication to service.  Her level of commitment, professionalism and sincere desire to help those who have given at the highest level of service are a direct reflection of Point Park and the Master of Arts in organizational leadership program’s mission and values,” explained Jamesena Talbott, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the M.A. in organizational leadership program.

In 2009, Rairigh completed the 30-credit M.A. program in a year and a half, earning an impressive 4.0 GPA.

“Being able to take graduate classes that really interested me has added value to my degree and makes me appreciate the work I am doing,” remarked Rairigh. “By collaborating with professors, I was able to fit the program to meet my career goals.”

According to Rairigh, another major benefit of Point Park's M.A. in organizational leadership program is the ability to take a hybrid of courses both in class and online. “The program was flexible for working professionals and taught creative problem solving.  The skills I learned can be implemented by professionals working at all levels within an organization.”

Learn more about the Master of Arts in organizational leadership program and the courses offered.

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