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While working at a corporate law firm in Washington, D.C. to pay off her school debt, Molly Mimier began to look for a job that would satisfy her passions for helping others, traveling overseas, and protecting the environment. She was dismayed to find the competition overwhelming. “With the economy in poor shape, there were hundreds of applicants for the few jobs I felt qualified for,” she recalls.
Her solution was to enlarge her skill set. She had noticed that nonprofits and government agencies had many postings for contract managers. “I didn’t really understand what being a contract manager entailed, but I thought with my legal background I could learn about it,” she says. Mimier had a number of requirements about the courses she intended to take. Most important was for her to receive credit from a degree-granting institution.
The Certificate in Procurement and Contracts Management fit the bill—so much so that Mimier decided to complete an additional Certificate in Project Management. She was particularly impressed by the faculty expertise. “My professors all work during the day in contract and project management, so their courses were highly relevant and up to date,” she says.
Thanks to her extra preparation, Mimier's fortunes quickly changed. She received several job offers and accepted a position with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a foreign service officer. She has recently completed an 18-month tour in Peru, working on contracts and agreements related to environmental protection. “The education I received at UVA continues to serve me well,” she says. “To this day, I refer to a number of the textbooks from the certificate courses.”