Marvol Barnard is nothing if not determined. She returned to college in her 50s—while maintaining her professional and personal responsibilities—and completed a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University. But she’s not done with her education; she is now in the Master of Organizational Leadership program.
“It’s not easy, as an older student, to get up the courage to return to school but my experience at NAU was so wonderful, so fulfilling, and truly life-changing,” Marvol said.
As an online student working from her home in Green Valley, Arizona, Marvol was able to work and keep leadership roles in the Professional Golf Association. In 2019, Marvol was elected National President of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Despite her busy schedule, Marvol maintained a 4.00 GPA and was also honored with the Distinguished Senior Award at her undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Marvol is thankful for the help she received from advisors and instructors guiding her as an online student. She said the instructors helped connect her to NAU by being responsive to questions. To feel further connected, she utilized library assistance and kept up with NAU happenings.
“I have learned so much, my mind has been so opened, and a love for learning has been enhanced like I could have never imagined,” Marvol said. “NAU helped me fulfill a dream, and no one can ever know what that means to me.”
Throughout her time at NAU, Marvol has had a positive experience with her academic mentors. Marvol said one of her advisors, Alison Mercado, was the cheerleader she needed to get her to the end of her undergraduate degree. Mercado explained her advising philosophy is to be a reliable resource for students as they progress through their degrees. Because of her positive experience with advisors and mentors, Marvol hopes to mentor others as she continues her education.
Marvol is pursuing a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and expects to use the knowledge she gains from the degree in her career. “I’m the National President of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, and have found my classwork in Public Administration extremely helpful as I lead teams and sit on two non-profit boards in the golf world,” Marvol said. “I have more years left in my term and I’m looking forward to learning how to be a more effective leader in my organization.”