Home Again, Virtually


Noelle Covarrubias left Eastern, but dreamed of returning. A new online degree program is making it happen.

By Eastern Magazine

She was a sophomore studying at Eastern when her family in the Tri-Cities decided to relocate to the Midwest. When Noelle Covarrubias, a talented vocalist and music performance major, got the news, she was torn. Move with the family she loved, or stay at the university she adored?

Family ties and personal considerations won out, and Covarrubias made the move.

Covarrubias never quite got over leaving EWU, however, vowing to herself that one day she’d be back. Now, seven years later, the university’s new Online MBA Program is providing that opportunity.

But she never quite got over leaving EWU, however, vowing to herself that one day she’d be back. Now, seven years later, the university’s new Online MBA Program is providing that opportunity. And Covarrubias used social media to let the world know how happy she is about it.

“One of my biggest regrets was leaving @easternwashingtonuniversity in the middle of my sophomore year,” she wrote in an Instagram post in June.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made but I got through it and left a little piece of my heart in Cheney…I said if I were ever to pursue my master’s degree I would go back to EWU to finish what I started.”

Covarrubias says she fell in love with the university after her high school choir teacher recommended she attend the EWU Jazz Dialogue Summer Camp her freshman year.

“It was such a great experience for me. I learned a lot,” says Covarrubias, who went on to attend the summer camp after each of her four years of high school. After enrolling at Eastern she had every intention of graduating as an Eagle.

When her plans changed in the winter of 2012, Covarrubias transferred to Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. There she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with minors in music and gerontology.

Covarrubias says she knew the time was right this spring when EWU announced the start of a new Online MBA Program. She applied, was accepted, and started with the inaugural class this fall. Covarrubias will pursue her degree while working full time at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Because the program is fully online, Covarrubias won’t physically return to campus. But she fully intends to return to Cheney for graduation, she says.