Emily Fread

Emily Fread built a calling into a career with a little help and a new certificate program

Like many freshly-minted college grads Emily Fread had her bachelor’s degree in Psychology—but wasn’t sure of her career path. Then she found her “calling” (as she calls it) as the development director at Habitat for Humanity Lakeside in Sheboygan. A dream job with a degree that didn’t quite fit. Plus, attending college and working full time presented a daunting logistical challenge. The solution? A certificate program with UW-Green Bay’s Division of Continuing Education and Community Engagement.

“I’m currently taking the Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program,” Fread says. “My supervisor and I learned about the program through an email and we thought it would be a great experience for me to acquire more leadership skills at nonprofit resources.”

What makes a program like this work for Fread is a unique combination of resources and flexibility that would be difficult to replicate on your own. The program is entirely online and meets once a week on Friday for two and a half hours. And it’s not just the class work that’s valuable but also her class members. “There are teachers and other students I can reach out to in the future if I ever need anything.”

Fread also appreciates how the instructors accommodate the demands of working professionals, “They’ve really set me up for success, plus provided a lot of resources I can use going forward, especially networking with other people. There’s lots of flexibility and I appreciate that.”

Any advice for those weighing their continuing education options?

“I thought being employed full time would make it hard to manage going back to school part time. What can be helpful is to think back why you are doing this in the first place.” As in when your calling calls for blazing a new educational and professional path. Fread is accomplishing both. “It’s allowing me to flourish and develop the career I’ve been looking for.”