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Ann Crespin may have officially become a Pioneer when she pursued her bachelor’s in marketing at the University of Denver in the 90s, but she felt a connection to campus long before that.

“DU has a special place in my heart,” she said. “I grew up on that campus and would skate every morning before school in the arena before it was Magness.”

In 1995, it would have seemed that Ann’s undergraduate graduation signaled her last experience with the University of Denver (she went on to earn her nursing degree at the University of Colorado). However, two decades later she found herself back on that familiar DU campus pursuing an MS in Healthcare Leadership through University College.

As a Clinical Nurse Manager at Children’s Hospital Colorado on the Anschutz Medical Campus, Ann chose to pursue a master’s degree that would combine her business background with the clinical side of her role. From forecasting staffing to redesigning clinical processes, Ann is a leader within the emergency department of Children’s Hospital.

“We’re experts in the weird,” she joked. As the only level one trauma center for pediatrics in the mid-west region, Children’s Hospital encounters many rare and unusual cases. These experiences make Ann a popular classmate, since she was able to share stories from the clinical side of healthcare with her peers who came from a variety of backgrounds including IT, public policy, human resources, and beyond.

“It’s really helpful to interact and share ideas with individuals who come from different perspectives,” she said. “There are good, respectful, intelligent relationships being built in the online classes, along with the on campus classes.”

Pursuing a combination of online and on campus courses, Ann appreciated the quarter system and starting a new class every 10 weeks. “My job is demanding and I’m a single mom, so the option to go to class online is what got me through,” she said.

Ann resonated with the leadership and ethics courses offered at University College, and by mixing and matching courses to suit her career, she also explored an area outside of the Healthcare Leadership program: human resources. With 130 people reporting up through Ann, she deals with HR processes as part of her management role.

“It’s helpful to learn those other pieces,” she said. “I come from a world where everyone knows the clinical side, so it’s interesting to hear from others and what they are passionate about.”

From her undergraduate experience through to her time at University College, Ann followed her passion and customized a program that suited her interests and her career at the University of Denver. She applies what she learns in class at work the next day, making her an invaluable asset to her family, work, and community.

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