When Neukisha Motsinger came across the online Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) at UNCG, she wasn’t looking for a second degree. She was helping her daughter select her junior year courses. Motsinger saw the PACS courses and says it was like finding a missing piece.
“The first time I went to college, I did not give it 100 percent,” she says of her first degree, a BA in history. “I had that ‘Cs get degrees’ mentality.”
The effects of childhood abuse resurfaced in college as a teen, and her grades suffered. Motsinger has proven herself this time with her dedication to completing the program, which she’ll finish in May after four full semesters. “I wanted to prove to myself that I was ready to go forward,” she says.
Online program focuses on helping others
PACS is an interdisciplinary program focusing on peace, conflict management, resolution, and transformation. The fully online bachelor’s program teaches conflict intervention and prevention, and promotes peace studies and research. Students learn needed skills for peaceful resolutions that can be used within organizations, communities, and professional and personal settings.
- violence intervention
- collaborative problem solving
The online aspect has enabled Motsinger to pursue the degree. With three children, three stepchildren, and a full-time job, Motsinger’s life is a juggling act. She completes her coursework around other duties, pushing herself to complete the program quickly, something the online format allows her to do.
Skills to use right now
Through PACS, Motsinger is learning to use mediation and facilitation skills on a regular basis, both in her job in social services and her practicum at a domestic violence and sexual assault center.
“One of the things I’m focusing on is the emotional relearning and how to retrain your mind so that you can transition from being a victim to a survivor,” she says.
As a facilitator, she has learned the importance of peer groups and how they can help with healing. The Managing Conflicts in Professional Contexts course taught her to see nonverbal cues of the quiet victims in peer support groups and give them a chance to speak.
She has gained perspective about the causes of violence. “There’s always a different side, and there’s a reason that people might do something because they feel they have no other power,” she says.
Motsinger looks at the barriers and asks questions.
“Even here at my job, I’m looking from that different lens,” she says. “I was kind of getting a little jaded and started going through the motions. And now I’m actually looking at it from a different perspective of why is this going on? When I have the same people come back to me over and over again, why, and what can I do differently, and how can I change what I’m doing or presenting it?”
Getting the tools to move ahead
Motsinger already has a BA in history. She’s pursuing the PACS degree because she hopes to work in Child Protective Services or foster care, where she would help parents and foster parents work together and reunite families.
Motsinger is excited about moving ahead.
“Now that I’m doing something that I really enjoy and I really love, my motivation is different,” she says. “[Getting the degree] is not something that I have to do, but it’s something that I want to do.”
Want to learn more?
Find out more about Peace and Conflict Studies. Download a complete program brochure.