Student Spotlight

Photo: Polina Sfard

Polina Sfard

Polina Sfard is a Nonprofit Management program graduate. She joined the program to formalize her industry skills after having already established her career in nonprofit work. We recently spoke with Polina about her experience in the program and how it helped her career. Below are some highlights from our recent conversation.

What made you want to take classes in the Nonprofit Management program?
I've been in the nonprofit world for over ten years as a board member, volunteer and manager but I wanted a more formal education to give myself a more foundational understanding for my career. I graduated from San Francisco State University so when I started to think about going back to school it seemed like a natural fit. That along with the flexible schedule where I could take night and weekend classes meant it just make sense.

What were your biggest takeaways from the program?
The program had a variety of not only qualified instructors but also students. My fellow students were very knowledgeable and it was exciting to hear from professionals that come from every corner of the nonprofit industry.

Classes were very interactive with students and instructors exchanging ideas in class. It didn't feel like just a lecture - you're organically learning by interacting with your peers who also have experiences working with nonprofits. Everyone's voice was really heard.

Did you feel the knowledge you gained in the program helped your career?
I took away a lot of useful new tools and examples from my instructors. They shared real-world examples that helped explain the basic principles of nonprofit management. For me, it was also a lot of confirming what I was already doing. It was nice to see best practices and recognize that what I was already doing lined up with that.

Would you recommend the program to others?
I would recommend the program. The instructors are very knowledgeable and have a lot of real world experience to share with students. Students come from all different experience levels, and you'll hear questions that make you think about why and how you make certain choices.