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Boise State online student Alexis Bolick: “OPWL has opened my eyes.”

Alexis Bolick lives just outside Boston, Massachusetts, thousands of miles away from Boise State University. However, Broncos are not defined by geography, and Bolick’s experience as an online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) student at Boise State resulted in immense learning and success before she even reached graduation.

Finding Her Way to Boise State’s Online OPWL Program

Originally from a small town in North Carolina, Bolick credits her supportive mother and her incredible fiancé for standing by her side as she pursued her dreams. Her journey to Boise State University’s online graduate program was a winding road, marked by experiences in customer service and operations work. 

A headshot of Alexis Bolick, Boise State Online OPWL student.
Alexis Bolick, Boise State Online OPWL student.

A conversation with a past undergraduate instructor sparked her interest in instructional design, leading her to explore the world of employee development and training. Reflecting on her initial impressions of the program, Bolick admits to grappling with imposter syndrome. She recalls, “I had to remind myself that we were all generally learning new things together.” 

Now successfully enrolled in the online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning and the Certificate in Workplace Performance Improvement programs, Bolick is set to graduate in May 2024. Choosing the OPWL program was a pivotal decision for Bolick. Guided by the helpfulness of advisors like Jo Ann Fenner and the breadth of course offerings, she discovered the depth of organizational performance work.

The High Value of Professional Relationships

Through engaging classes and meaningful projects, Bolick forged professional relationships that shaped her career trajectory. One such moment was her teaching assistant work and conversations with Professor Rafael Da Silva, a turning point where she felt genuinely supported in her development journey.

“He asked how he could help me develop and accomplish my goals. It was the first time someone ever asked me that, and he stuck to it, which has helped me obtain job offers. It’s one of the other primary reasons I find myself in the job I have today — because of the experiences he exposed me to that I might not have had just taking classes.”

The online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning is for professionals looking to learn how to engineer inclusive learning experiences and evidence-based performance solutions so organizations can best address individual, team and organizational challenges. These highly desired skill sets apply to various careers like instructional design, learning/training and development, human resource development, e-learning, performance improvement or consulting.

Online Learning Makes It Possible

Bolick accepted the role of Organizational Development Specialist with UMass Memorial Health last year while continuing her Boise State education.

For Bolick, online learning offers a vital flexibility essential for balancing work and education. The OPWL department’s commitment to fostering an interactive online environment has made her journey enriching and diverse. 

“Don’t forget you can still make and maintain relationships online, just like in an in-person class. Communicate with instructors. Communicate with your project partners,” Bolick advises. “Know what is motivating you before you start. If you aren’t motivated, you aren’t going to get to your highest potential.

OPWL’s robust community of practice includes highly interactive online courses that enable Bolick and all students to build a strong, diverse professional network. In addition to online classroom learning, students can join virtual faculty research labs to work on real-world research and development projects and applications.

The “Cascading Effect” of Higher Education

As Bolick nears graduation, she reflects on the transformative power of higher education. Her studies have honed her skills in evidence-based practices, fostering a meticulous approach to her work. The impact of her education resonates not only in her professional life but also within her community. By applying her knowledge to her role at UMass Memorial Health, Bolick contributes to the well-being of employees and citizens alike, creating a ripple effect of positive impact. 

She notes, “OPWL has opened my eyes! I’m actively applying the skills and knowledge I’ve learned, which in turn is impacting the incredible caregivers at my company, UMMH, who directly impact most citizens within Central MA, so there is a kind of cascading effect.”

In Alexis Bolick’s journey to a degree, the theme of trust emerges as a cornerstone: trust in oneself, the knowledge gained through education and the ability to affect meaningful change. “I work in a huge health system, where some of my curriculum design decisions can affect thousands of people. However, I know they trust me to do this work because of the OPWL program and the evidence-based practices I employ. Every class has been relevant to my job.”

Learn More About Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning at Boise State

Boise State University’s online Master of Science program in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning and graduate certificates in workplace instructional design, e-learning, and performance improvement provide advanced knowledge and thorough training while preparing students for learning and development careers. Contact a student success coach to learn more about scholarships, the application process and more.

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