NPRC's Board of Trustees will hold a regular meeting on Friday, June 14, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at the Galena Building in Franklin or via Zoom connection. The agenda can be viewed online.

Andrea Kessler Assistant Director of Workforce Development – Programs and Instruction (Celebrating Women in the Workplace)

Andrea Kessler Celebrating Women in the Workplace

March is Women’s History Month, when we celebrate the contributions of women throughout history and contemporary society. With this series, we intend to highlight some of NPRC’s women for the work they have done throughout their careers and for their contributions to the College and higher education. This week, we are featuring Andrea Kessler.
Kessler’s full-time career in higher education spans over 20 years and started during her days as an undergraduate Resident Assistant. During her college experience as a University of Pittsburgh student, Kessler worked for student life and served in student government. These experiences made her aware of the food insecurity and poverty that many college students face and that she wanted to work in a career where she could work to improve others’ lives.
After earning her undergraduate degree in occupational therapy and her doctorate degree in physical therapy, Kessler began her full-time career treating people with neurological and orthopedic conditions in a variety of settings and eventually taught full time in physical therapy education. In 2018, she was pivotal in helping the College of St. Mary develop a hybrid physical therapy program. Kessler has continued throughout her working career to help people improve their lives through education, with her most recent career move being a role with the College as the institutions first Assistant Director of Workforce Development – Programs and Instruction beginning in November 2022.
“NPRC’s mission drew my attention with its innovative approach to delivering education in northwestern Pennsylvania,” she said. “I wanted to work at NPRC because of its model for offering programs in workforce development coupled with pathways for learners to expand their goals into academics.”
While there have been many milestones and accomplishments in her professional career, Kessler lists some of her most fulfilling and impressive accomplishments as her collaboration with like-minded people in researching, presenting, and writing about hybrid education development, quality healthcare team building, and equity in healthcare education. These passions of hers are an asset at NPRC and help to fulfill our mission of providing affordable and accessible education to the residents of northern Pennsylvania.
“The mission is at the forefront of everything that gets done at NPRC. To benefit the learner and organization, leaders need to be missionfocused. I believe we need to relate to each other to accomplish our goals while embracing change and transformation within and around us to grow and develop.”
Having worked in higher education in the region for many years, she understands the importance it has in helping the area to continue to flourish. “People think of college as benefiting students and their ability to begin a career. While true, colleges also support the economic drivers of a community, including employers and organizations. As industries evolve in our region, NPRC is creating innovative pathways to help all stakeholders thrive within our communities. We need colleges to bring affordable education and training to where we live and work.”
While there is a great deal of solid advice for women in the workplace, Kessler encourages them to explore all career options, find mentors in careers they are interested in, and not to hesitate from asking questions. For all professionals, she believes in the “done is better than perfect approach. “Early on in my career, I put immense pressure on myself to be perfect. In turn, it was difficult to get started because I felt like I had to be perfect before I could start anything.  I became overly critical of myself and often felt stressed out. With maturity and mentorship, I realized that perfection is an illusion. Now I strive to learn from everything I do and work hard to collaborate with others to get things done. My strive for perfection creeps back in from time to time, but I become aware of it much sooner and quiet it down.”
Andrea is another one of the inspiring women at NPRC we are celebrating this month. Join us throughout March for more features that celebrate women in the workplace and inspire local young women to explore an entire world of possibilities in their lives and careers!
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