NAU is a life-changing place to earn a graduate degree

Billy Distler

     By Billy Distler
     College of Education master’s student 

It all started with a phone call. I never would have predicted that talking to Barry Eagle in spring of 2013 would have led to the amazing adventure of graduate school that I am a week away from completing. The phone call I speak of was regarding the Graduate Assistantship I ended up receiving, which is the GA for Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Through this role, I have met numerous quality individuals and have had the opportunity to encounter many unique experiences.

It is often said that being at a university is about finding your true identity. Little did I know, only a month into the academic year, I’d be a massive axe-wielding character. Temporarily, I found myself as the beloved mascot of our university Louie the Lumberjack, for an event that my place of residence, South Village Apartments, was hosting.

Also, I found myself as the impromptu host of the new tradition of Homecoming Week that Fraternity and Sorority Life puts on, Flannels & Flapjacks. I can honestly say that morning was the first time I hosted a pancake-eating competition!

I’m honored to work for Housing and Residence Life in the unique environment where our fantastic sorority and fraternity members live in an on-campus residence hall. It opened up the door for me to get further involved on campus, such as being a member on the school’s Graduate Student Government.

A guest at the first meeting, our new President Rita Cheng, asked why I joined NAU. If she wants a follow-up from my final month at the university – I certainly hope she reads this blog. I completely enjoyed my decision to study at NAU.

Oh yeah, the academic part of graduate school; how could I forget?

The school’s College of Education was a fantastic environment to pursue higher education, and I have been pursuing a master’s degree in Cross Categorical and High Incidence Special Education.

As my student teaching at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy is coming to a close, I am nothing but grateful for the opportunity I had to educate those middle and high school students.

Some aspects of life do a nice job foreshadowing the future. My summer and early autumn position will be as a legends racer for the Arizona Diamondbacks (you know, the mascots with the huge heads that race in the middle of each home game in Phoenix). Hopefully Louie will pay Chase Field a visit this summer so my graduate school experience can truly come full circle.


Choosing NAU was one of the best decisions I have made in my life

     By Rya Rochman
     Graduate Student Government Treasurer 

Rya Rochman

My Fulbright scholarship has brought me to NAU to pursue my master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. The program has been very welcoming and supporting in almost every aspect of my professional development.

The opportunities of teaching practicum and research are wide open with plenty of resources and facilities on and off campus.

The professors are beyond supportive to let us learn the most and to participate in conferences in the field.

I have always felt honored to be a part of this program.

Outside of the program, Flagstaff itself is a small friendly community, where everyone you meet gives you a smile, where you feel safe to walk home at night, where you know you can ask help from strangers. The friendliness of this city will be one of the many things that I will miss most!

For this graduation, I would like to say how grateful I am for all the experiences NAU has offered me, the wonderful people I have met, and the best two years of my life that I would never exchange with anything else.