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Applying Research to Practice: Helping Families and Communities

The term “learning” took on a whole new meaning for NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) alumna Jamie Alexander once she started pursuing her master’s degree online at NC State.

In 2009, Alexander enrolled in the CALS master’s program in human development and family studies through NC State’s Youth, Family, and Community Sciences online programs. The program has evolved since 2009 and is now known as the Master of Science in Youth, Family and Community Sciences.

At that moment, Alexander realized how much she was interested in research and applying that to practice.

“I was absolutely fascinated with the idea that I could actually help to facilitate positive life outcomes in my local community,” Alexander said. She adds that her educational experience through the online CALS program motivated her to pursue her Ph.D.

“I admired the enthusiasm that the faculty of the [online] program had for their work,” Alexander said. “I saw hard-working individuals who cared immensely for the populations they were working with.”

Alexander said the faculty’s passion for helping others and improving their communities was contagious. For Alexander, learning had become fun. The method of applying research to practice helped her decide on a career path — she became a professor.

“I learned the importance of family and work-life balance through my studies,” Alexander explained of the impact the online CALS program has had on her.

“The learning environment was supportive and encouraging,” Alexander said.

What she gained while enrolled in the online program continues to influence her and she continues to have strong relationships with faculty members who helped her along the way.

For more information about NC State’s Youth, Family, and Community Sciences online programs visit their website.