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Students & Alumni

Online Grad Finds Flexibility 4,500 Miles from Campus

Noryari Santiago-Carpio and her husband pose for a selfie.

Written by Debbie Willmschen.

In January of 2022, Noryari Santiago-Carpio began her educational journey with NC State University — while living in Vicenza, Italy! At that time, we wrote about how she was putting the distance in “distance education” as she started her work with the NC State Online Master of Accounting (MAC) program while living nearly 4,500 miles away from Raleigh, North Carolina. Now, as she approaches her graduation date, we wanted to check in with Santiago-Carpio to see how her time at NC State has been.

Even after successfully completing the program, Santiago-Carpio describes her time with the MAC program as a “roller coaster.”

“I remember feeling scared during my first semester because it had been a while since I’ve been in school and I did not know what to expect,” Santiago-Carpio explained. “I was worried about being able to manage the workload, understand the material, and also manage the time difference. As the time went by, I started to feel more comfortable with the workload. I found a way to manage my schedule and create a routine to have time for everything. The professors were really understanding of the time difference and were able to modify the times on tests and assignments to my time zone. They were also extremely helpful in explaining any information I didn’t understand.”

The innovative MAC program allows students to engage with the Jenkins Master of Accounting Program on their own terms and at their pace. Santiago-Carpio found this flexibility convenient as she completed her degree and gained the advanced knowledge she needed about commercial law, tax accounting, auditing, data analytics and more.

“When I started the program, I had little to no experience in accounting,” Santiago-Carpio said. “I had no idea how many ways accounting can be used! Now I find myself with all these options and many options for how I can use my degree, from taxes, to data analytics, to financial advisor. Obtaining this advanced degree through the MAC program has really opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities.”

Looking back on her time spent in the program, Santiago-Carpio is also grateful for the faculty who led her through the process.

“All the faculty members made me feel very comfortable throughout the entire program,” Santiago-Carpio. “Initially, I was worried about the distance, but they were just an email away and all responded quickly. Director of the Jenkins MAC Program, Scott Showalter, impressed me with both his professional career path as well as his accounting knowledge, especially in auditing. He was one of the first people I talked to and one of my last professors in the program.”

Showalter remembers that initial conversation well. 

“I was impressed with Noryari’s desire to learn,” Showalter recalls. “She ended up living in three different countries during her time in the MAC Program and took every change in stride. It was a pleasure working with her as the Director of the MAC Program and as a faculty. I look forward to celebrating her graduation.”

Looking ahead, Santiago-Carpio hopes to celebrate her graduation with family and close friends in Italy. Although she is thankful that she had the opportunity to complete her classes while also traveling to different countries with her husband, she will miss those online friends she made in the program. 

Noryari in Venice
Santiago-Carpio, shown here in Venice, enjoyed the perks of traveling while living in Italy.

Because Santiago-Carpio was in a career shift when she began the MAC program, she has some advice for other professionals facing a similar situation.

“To anyone who is thinking about switching careers and is interested in management-level accounting jobs, the MAC program is a great program to consider,” Santiago-Carpio said. “I talked to other friends who are doing online programs at other institutions, and I know that I made the right decision by choosing NC State. The professors are involved, you have a lot of material available to you, and you have both lectures and Zoom meetings with professors. I honestly liked how involved every professor was with each class. Although I was apprehensive at the start, everything about my experience turned out to be positive! I’m happy I chose to be a part of the Wolfpack!”

This post was originally published in Online and Distance Education News.