When two members of the family decide to earn their master’s degrees at Walden together, they lean on and learn from each other.

Posted by Claire Blome
Posted on Thursday, October 03, 2013

When Dale Norbeck ’12 chose Walden University to earn his master’s degree, he knew he would have a strong ally to help him complete the program if he could convince his daughter to enroll, too—and he was in luck. “My dad called me to urge me to ‘get my butt in gear’ and start my master’s when he enrolled in 2011. I had been putting it off for years, and this was the final push I needed. I wouldn’t have done it without my dad,” Angela Norbeck ’12 says.

Angela needed to continue her education to move ahead as a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Although Dale chose to pursue his M.S. in Management to support his work as an engineer technician at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., Angela ultimately selected a more technical degree, the Master of Information Systems Management (M.I.S.M.), to complement her career. Soon, she was enrolled and started classes, just one semester behind her dad.

Dale and Angela Norbeck
Dale and Angela
Norbeck

Throughout their master’s programs, Dale and Angela made a point to support each other. “We encouraged each other during the trying times, especially when we needed to balance work, home life, and school,” Angela says. “We would also text or call to talk about assignments and classes regularly.”

Sometimes their conversations were about simple, but technical issues they encountered. Other times, they discussed their experiences as a manager or leading a team relevant to their coursework. Angela often leaned on her dad for his expertise as a manager. “I remember the long conversations about management relations,” she says. “I found it really valuable to get his perspective. I’m surrounded by technical people, so I needed to learn how to relate to upper management. It was really helpful to bounce ideas off my dad.”

Dale has a lot of life experience to offer and was a leader even before he decided to go into the private sector. A decorated retired U.S. Army first sergeant who served in the first Gulf War, he received the Bronze Star for his actions. “I spent 22 years in the Army. My best job was leading soldiers,” Dale says. “I love helping others and teaching them what I have learned in my past experience. That is why I selected management. It is something I enjoy doing.”

“I enjoyed the experiences I had at Walden, and when Angela became a student, we had another common subject to discuss,” Dale continues. “Being partners in our master’s programs helped us both with our careers.”

“It was great to lean on each other for support,” Angela echoes. “And it was really wonderful to hear my dad’s name called at commencement.” Dale agrees. They were each cheering for the other—along with their family—as they crossed the stage in Minneapolis in August.

Angela is thankful her dad pushed her to enroll, since Walden gave them the opportunity to grow together. And it seems that Dale’s legacy of encouragement may not be quite over, either. “One of my co-workers is talking about going back to school,” Dale says. “I told him about my experiences at Walden. He needs a push to get him going. Walden is that push. The biggest thing I liked is that the support is there—whether it’s from your fellow students, the faculty, or student support services.”

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