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Alumni Profile: Nancy Ukpe Gargula


Adler University Alumni: Nancy Ukpe Gargula
M.A. Counseling, 2007

My Adler Experience…

I always knew I wanted to study psychology. I remember watching Oprah as a little girl and thinking how great she was at getting people to open up. As the middle child in my family, I got good at listening and observing, and often found myself as the confidant to my siblings and friends. I wanted to be like Oprah.

When I started looking at graduate degree programs in counseling, I was drawn to the Adlerian approach, which emphasizes that everyone should be validated, connected and made to feel significant. My parents taught me that when you do well for others, you do well for yourself. The Adlerian approach felt so aligned with how I was raised.

I remember when I was going through the application process, I toured campus and met with a few professors who made me feel so welcomed. I could see myself on campus and that played a huge role in my decision to move across country to a new city, where I knew no one. It was one of my best decisions.

Adler’s small class sizes allowed me to thrive. My professors got to know me, and I was able to really connect with other students – many of whom are my good friends to this day.

Today, I am the Manager of Special Initiative, People and Culture at MacArthur Foundation, where I help advance the organization’s culture and employee engagement by connecting staff to each other and their work. I help make sure that staff are at the center of MacArthur’s work, their voices are included in decision making and most importantly that staff feel a sense of belonging when they come to work. The skills I learned at Adler have grounded me in my career and life. I believe my emotional intelligence is on point, I practice critical and reflective listening, and put a high value on collaboration.

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