MNCL Alumni and Student Profiles

Mackenzie Hernandez 

MNCL Graduate August 2017

Internal Communications Manager, Bass Pro Group
Formerly Executive Director at Missouri Safe and Sober

Why did you choose Drury University for your master’s program?

After graduating from Harding University in 2014, I had no plans to pursue a master’s degree. Instead, I started working for Safe and Sober. The first few months of my career were challenging as I quickly learned that nonprofit work has its own set of obstacles and opportunities that I did not learn about in my undergraduate program. I needed to understand important fundamentals, like how to work with a board of directors, measure program success and fundraise. I attended Drury’s Nonprofit Communication Conference in the fall of 2014, and learned about the Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree. I immediately made plans to start the program in 2015.

How has the MNCL program directly benefited you in your current work situation?

The MNCL program covers important issues like ethics, governance and philanthropy. Outside of the classroom, I have had the opportunity to interview, observe and complete projects for other nonprofit organizations in our community. Working with these area nonprofit organizations has taught me principles that I can take back to Safe and Sober. The program has given me the chance to network with key leaders in our community that I would not have otherwise met.

What surprised you the most about the MNCL program?

The MNCL program is small enough that students get to know each other. Many of my classmates are already working for area nonprofit organizations. We serve as a support group for one another – not only in our classes, but in our careers, as well. Many classes include various announcements from fellow students about upcoming fundraisers or volunteer opportunities. I look forward to class because of the content and I enjoy spending time with other professionals outside of my daily work hours.

Advice you would give students currently contemplating the MNCL program: 

The MNCL program is perfect for professionals who are seeking a long-term nonprofit leadership role, whether that includes becoming an executive director or serving as a board member. Nonprofit work is complex, and this program offers an opportunity to ask questions about an organization that may not come up on a daily basis. I would encourage interested students to set up a meeting with Dr. Charles Taylor, program director, to learn more about the value of the MNCL degree.

Amy (Qualls) Landrigan 

MNCL Graduate August 2017

Regional Director - Psychiatric Medical Care 
Bachelor's of Science in Psychology & Gerontology, Missouri State University

Why did you choose the Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree? 

I felt I had only just scratched the surface of the nonprofit world and that was not enough. I wanted to make sure that I continued my career in the nonprofit world as a leader, and as a professional ready to not just “help people,” but make a positive impact. I aim to change lives for the better, make measureable progress, and develop sustainable strategies for social community change. The MNCL provided the knowledge, tools, and hands on experience needed for me to become a leader in my community and my field.

What surprised you the most about the MNCL program?

The hands-on experience. Almost every project, paper, or program I participated in involved the participation of a local nonprofit. I was able to be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge these nonprofits had to offer me. I had the opportunity to act as a consultant and assist several nonprofits as part of this program.

It is too easy for people to live within a bubble, to only work within their comfort zone, but this program pushes you to learn from others, submerge yourself in new situations, and learn from others in your field that may not have the same focus as you.

What did you gain from completing this two-semester collaborative project?

I gained confidence in myself as a nonprofit leader. Before the MNCL program, I was seen and treated more as a student in the nonprofit world. As I learned more, I began to be seen and respected as a nonprofit expert and consultant. During my capstone collaborative project, I was able to assist my partner nonprofit (RSVP) in its evolution as an agency. It was an amazing experience. I am still working closely with RSVP and am now a member of the RSVP Advisory Board.