Amy Saada

MPA
Director at Longmeadow Council on Aging

Adult learners often find themselves balancing a unique schedule in order to earn a degree. While most colleges and universities offer the traditional on-campus learning format, at Hodges, flexible options are available to students, which serve to assist in balancing their day-to-day schedules. For Hodges alumna Amy Saada, maintaining a full course schedule while working full time and being a single parent would not have been possible without the flexibility offered at Hodges and the dedication of the professors.

“At the time, I was a single parent, working full time and had a full school schedule. That was challenging. I would read my textbooks to my son as bedtime stories, be up all hours of the night researching and writing papers, and I lived on limited sleep with no social life for two years, but I have absolutely no regrets,” she said.

Working for the Collier County Government as a case manager, her decision to return to school aligned with the goals she set professionally and personally. Saada earned her Bachelor of Science in human services at Florida Gulf Coast University; however, her passion for helping others and desire to advance into a management position led her to enroll in Hodges’ Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. “I wanted to be able to advocate for change in policy where it is needed. I chose Hodges because it allowed me to balance work, family and school, and with the school in close proximity to my home, I had the flexibility of online course options, as well as evening and weekend courses,” she explained.

Graduating summa cum laude in 2005, she relocated to Connecticut in 2008. While deciding to stay at home with her three sons for a few years, she helped her husband pursue his passion of starting a business – Precision Mortgage, saying, “He continues to work there, but once the kids were in school, I went back to work.” Saada served as the director of a senior center before accepting her current position of Longmeadow Council on Aging director in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. As the director, she oversees the programs, budget and senior center.

“There are so many challenges and rewards, and I absolutely love what I do. I advocate for seniors and the services and benefits they deserve. There are political challenges, but nothing that cannot be overcome,” she said.

Saada admits that some of her greatest accomplishments include starting a family business; receiving Employee of the Year from the Collier County Government, as well as the Town of Somers; serving as a successful grant writer, which has aided in receiving funds to support senior citizens and various programs; and being a mother to three boys.

“The education I received at Hodges gave me the opportunity and confidence to pursue my passions,” she said.” “For anyone who is contemplating the idea of attending Hodges, just go for it. What do you have to lose? If you are in the program and stressed, overwhelmed and overworked, keep with it. In the end, it is all worth it.”

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