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Jennifer Drake, a senior business analyst for enrollment solutions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has served our state through various information technology roles before expanding her career to include the world of business. Now, as a graduate student in the inaugural cohort of the Master of Applied Professional Studies program, she’s merging her two professional interests in a tailor-made curriculum.

A woman with short hair and wearing a black shirt poses for a photo on the quad.
Jennifer Drake

“It’s the program that I didn’t know I was always waiting for,” she said. “I had sought out some master’s degrees, but I had never found the perfect fit for me.”

A long-time employee of Carolina, Drake plans to pursue coursework in the UNC School of Information and Library Science and in the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

“The MAPS program allows me to really combine those two areas of passion and experience that I’ve had in my work career to be able to chart my own path,” she said. “I’m hoping to get some academic foundation in the classroom as well and then be able to take what I’ve learned and apply it to future projects.”

Drake said the diversity of graduate students in the inaugural cohort appeals to her because some students are earlier in their career and bring energy and fresh perspective to the coursework. That perspective, matched with the rigor of a Carolina graduate degree, spurred her to apply.

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is nationally ranked for many programs,” she said. “It capitalizes on the expertise that many different departments and schools have to offer.”

As an employee of UNC-Chapel Hill, Drake benefits from the tuition and fee waiver program, offered to employees of the UNC System.

“It allows me to remain a committed, full-time employee while pursuing my education part time,” she explained. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The deadline to apply for spring 2023 admission to the MAPS program is April 11, 2023. 

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