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Introduction
The Trailblazer Issue

In a virtual environment filled with self-motivated, independent thinkers, it’s no surprise that we are surrounded by students, alumni and professors who are forging new paths to make a difference. In this issue of Higher Degrees, Dr. Jennifer Scott from the School of Business and Technology Management and an expert in organizational behavior and leadership, highlights the characteristics of trailblazers and talks about how NCU’s programs are especially suited for them.

We spoke to three inspirational members of the NCU community who embody the spirit of trailblazing. Tracy Diefenbach, a doctoral student in the School of Marriage and Family Sciences, talks about channeling the grief from her husband’s suicide into developing enhanced therapy options for veterans suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder. Recent School of Education graduate, Dr. Hari Dhungana, shares his story of drive and perseverance to complete his degree by defending his dissertation in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in his native Nepal. Finally, Dr. Barry Spiker from the NCU Graduate School takes us down his path into epigenetics, discussing his own research and how he is influencing his students to explore this new field.

This quarter we also feature highlights from NCU’s 2015 commencement and an overview of the University’s three new degree programs, 27 new specializations and recently awarded NCU Trailblazer Scholarships.

As always, we’re sharing updates from each of NCU’s Schools, as well as newsworthy updates on our students, alumni and professors. We hope you enjoy the issue! Please send your feedback and news for next issue of Higher Degrees to HigherDegrees@ncu.edu.


Northcentral University educates professionals throughout the world and provides unparalleled flexibility to earn a premier U.S. regionally accredited degree. Students are mentored one-to-one by professors who all hold doctoral degrees. NCU commits to helping students achieve academically and become valuable contributors to their communities and within their professions.

Northcentral University is regionally accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WASC). For more information, visit http://www.ncu.edu/ or call (888) 628-2078. For program disclosures, please visit www.ncu.edu/program-disclosures.

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