From Learning to Doing: MNA Student Excels in Hands-on Grow Irish Experience
Ellie Quijada-Navarro, MNA ’23
Author: Bryan Fields
Ellie Quijada-Navarro, an alumna of the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program at Notre Dame, is eagerly awaiting the next chapter in her career. With a passion for public service and a desire to make a difference in her community, Quijada-Navarro pursued a master’s program in nonprofit administration to further develop the skills needed to excel in the field.
Choosing Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business was a natural fit for Quijada-Navarro. The curriculum aligned perfectly with her interests and career goals, providing an opportunity to delve deeper into philanthropy, fundraising, and nonprofit management.
During the immersive Grow Irish experience, Quijada-Navarro had the opportunity to work with Farmers & Merchants Bank on a project focused on enhancing the bank’s philanthropic efforts and expanding its financial literacy programs within Orange County.
The project became an opportunity for Quijada-Navarro and her teammates to showcase their skills and apply classroom concepts to real-world situations.
“We conducted extensive research into the bank’s annual reports, into various software options for matching funds and budgeting, and into competitor practices,” Quijada-Navarro says. “By considering the bank’s specific needs, we were able to propose innovative solutions and recommendations.
The experience of putting into practice everything learned throughout the program was exhilarating for Quijada-Navarro. The knowledge gained from courses such as legal environment, accounting, nonprofit management, and innovation seamlessly integrated into her project work.
Looking ahead to her career post-graduation, Quijada-Navarro says the Grow Irish project has gone a long way in preparing her for success. “The hands-on approach, along with the application of skills we learned in class, gave us the confidence and expertise we needed to make a meaningful impact on this bank and on the rest of the nonprofit sector,” she says.
Reflecting on the overall experience, Quijada-Navarro describes Grow Irish Week as unforgettable. “Getting the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of nonprofits in diverse communities, along with the chance to travel and apply academic knowledge, was amazing,” Quijada-Navarro says. “It was great to collaborate with my peers within a supportive team environment and to bring together a variety of ideas and perspectives.”
As Quijada-Navarro prepares to embark on their post-graduation journey, she carries with her the valuable experiences, skills, and networks gained through the Grow Irish project. With a passion for public service and a solid foundation in nonprofit administration, Quijada-Navarro is poised to make a lasting and positive impact in their community and beyond.
Topics: Nonprofit Administration (MNA)