Diana’s Determination: How This ES Grad Designed Her Own Program
Diana Duffy has been conserving resources and saving energy ever since graduating from AUNE. Today, as coordinator of energy services at Keene State College, Diana is a resource for the school on strategic energy policy. She analyzes energy usage to find out how new energy efficiencies can be employed and contributes to strategic planning on energy and sustainability.
Before Keene State, she worked for National Grid, managing income-eligible efficiency programs in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, a program that helped more than 3,000 people a year.
Thankfully, Antioch University New England (AUNE) made it easier for her too. Her determination to design her own master’s degree program was embraced by faculty members who helped her achieve the success she envisioned for herself.
The Journey to AUNE
Diana grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1986 from Oberlin College. She taught high school science and social studies for several years in Massachusetts until discovering her passion for the environment. During the nineties, she interned at Pennsylvania State University’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, worked as a county park ranger in California, and managed educational programs in the science department of the Boston Children’s Museum. By 1999, she was ready for a change. “That’s when I said, okay, I just want to learn more and earn more. I started shopping for graduate schools.”
A former colleague suggested that she investigate AUNE where Diana learned that she could individualize her master’s degree program to meet her personal needs. She was instantly impressed.
“It’s easy to find a grad school, but most schools try to fit the students into their programs,” she said. “AUNE had a willing and welcoming approach. They’re more interested in the students than in themselves.” Soon after, at age 37, Diana applied to, and was accepted into AUNE’s environmental studies master’s program, which she tailored to prepare her for a new career.
Flexibility and Support Launches a Career
“I really focused on management classes so I would have the work skills I needed to go into any number of different business environments-nonprofit, corporate!,” she said. “AUNE said, ‘Sure, that sounds great.’”
“AUNE is so flexible,” she said. “They really understand, respect and promote the older, working student. I always felt so supported. That’s what makes AUNE different from other schools.”
Immediately following her AUNE graduation in 2003, Diana joined National Grid.
“I never even had to look for work. I never sent out any resumes,” she said. “My practica gave me the experience, the network, and the contacts that I needed to find the work that I wanted.”
Helping to Prepare AUNE for the Future
Diana lives in Keene and maintains a busy work schedule. Nevertheless, because of her positive AUNE experience, in Spring 2009 she accepted an invitation to serve on the AUNE’s founding Board of Trustees. “I’m so thrilled to be on the board,” she said. “One of our greatest responsibilities is to lay the foundation for AUNE to go forward in the next three years as well as in the next thirty years. It’s a huge challenge, but it’s very rewarding.”
“I feel so blessed that I can continue being involved with the school and to be connected with such smart, thoughtful people,” she said.