‘I had mentors that helped me in my education and career’


Improving work lives, one puzzle at a time. That’s what Caitlin Stoecker is most passionate about. 

“I like solving people puzzles,” she says. “I really enjoy looking for ways to improve instances where a business or employee feels stuck or slowed down. I like finding ways to make work easier for the team, and for individuals to have autonomy to construct their work in a way that is best for them. They are usually big messy problems and take a lot of communication, mostly listening, to solve, but I find it really rewarding.”

Stoecker’s career began in fundraising. But when she decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication at NDSU, she learned her true passion for organizational and strategic communication. 

She now works as a program manager at Razor Consulting Solutions, a minority and woman owned business, that provides professional services and custom technology solutions to a wide variety of clients. 

The NDSU communication program not only helped Stoecker find a new, fulfilling career, but also provided tools for future success.

While consulting on a business case for a presentation, Stoecker was able to pull research from academic resources learned during her time at NDSU to make the case. This application of knowledge is just one example of how her master’s degree turned theoretical knowledge into practical implementation.

One of the things that Stoecker appreciated most about her experience at NDSU was the fact that she was in the same classroom as doctoral students and professors who are considered leading experts in their fields. Engaging in discussions and analysis with these people elevated her ability to apply knowledge and solve problems at work.

Stoecker also serves on NDSU’s Communication Advisory Board, offering a bridge between the industry and academic worlds. She enjoys being able to advise students and answer their industry-related questions.

“I had mentors that helped me in my education and career. This feels like a way to give back and pay it forward in a subject matter that I am most passionate about,” she said.

Stoecker said communication professors at NDSU are personally invested in our local and regional community. They offer ways to connect students with opportunities that would be a good fit.

That support helped Stoecker earn her master’s degree. The flexibility of her professors, support of the department and a path that was tailored to her needs allowed her to earn her degree in 2017 while balancing a full-time career and expanding her family. Stoecker’s first child came as she pursued her graduate degree. The Stoecker family is expecting their second child very soon.

NDSU offers 87 master’s and 52 doctoral degree programs, as well as 21 certificate programs. Explore the academic path that’s tailored to your goals.