Leading the Mission to Cure and Treat ALS

Headshot of Beth Flanagan
"I’ve maintained a really wonderful relationship with my professors and also my peers. You meet such an amazing variety of individuals coming from all walks of life and who are using these classes to improve their work in so many fields." - Beth Flanagan '19

Beth Flanagan, RWU Class of 2019

Public Administration (MPA)

Do you remember the “ice bucket challenge,” when more than 17 million people doused their heads with freezing water and ice to raise money to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS,) a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Beth Flanagan ‘19 is ready to lead this important work beyond the challenge, stepping up as the Executive Director of the ALS Association Rhode Island Chapter. 

“I’m very happy that I landed this role. It’s a big challenge and a big position, and I’m three days in,” said Flanagan. “I can’t think of a better cause to put my efforts behind than helping people who are going through this difficult time. I’m thrilled to be here, joining a team that is so dedicated and honorable.”

Flanagan worked in management positions in the nonprofit sector for ten years. She wanted to advance her career, so she enrolled in RWU’s Master of Public Administration program. 

“I think the public administration field of study itself lends itself really well to nonprofit leadership because of the courses that are taken. I’m definitely going to be utilizing the skills I developed in my budgeting and finance class. It’s such a vital skillset to have when you’re in my position,” said Flanagan. 

Conducting research and maintaining a 4.0 GPA while working full-time was a challenge, but Flanagan was dedicated to putting her all into her studies. 

“I enjoyed the whole program. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, that program. But I got something out of every class I sat in,” said Flanagan. 

Flanagan was recognized by RWU for her exceptional effort, receiving the John W. Stout Outstanding MPA Student Award in 2019. Perhaps the greatest reward of all, though, is a meaningful career in her field of interest. 

“I went back to school in the hopes that I would land in a position of leadership in the nonprofit sector, so this is exactly where I have been aiming to be,” said Flanagan.