Working Full-time, Aura Earns Her Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s Degree

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Granite State College Student Aura

Alumna Fulfills Her Purpose

While she describes herself as a work-in-progress, Aura Huot quietly inspires. At just 18 years-old, and with a handful of prior college credits and the full support of her loving parents, Aura moved from Colombia to the United States. Eventually, she pursued her associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree—all while building her career—with the help of her employer and Granite State College.

My parents taught me that I was a product in development. That’s where my hunger comes from. They wanted me to continue my education and told me the more educated I become and the more experience I have, the better choices I will make and the better able I’ll be to serve others because that’s what life is all about.

Today, Aura works as an Human Resources leader but like many, Aura started her professional career in a humble, entry-level role. Her employer at the time—Stonyfield Organic, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire—ended up being an incredible place to grow. Not only did they have a generous tuition assistance program which allowed her to take college courses, but Aura found that a company with a socially responsible business model was a good fit for her personality and values.

I was always taught that no matter what work you’re doing, if you’re doing it, there’s a purpose in that. It has been true at every stage of my life. So, early on, I was just looking for a job. Today, I understand the mission at Stonyfield. I understand how things operate. I’ve gained an appreciation and love for teamwork.

Aura ultimately enrolled at Granite State College while working full time at Stonyfield and graduated with her bachelor’s in Business Management in 2018. Aura’s strong work habits and ethic of service have helped her to advance educationally and professionally. Her employer’s investment in her professional development was essential to her advancement at Stonyfield. Over her 15 years with the organization, she gained experience in operations, training, manufacturing, and human resources.

I progressed in my career because each job at Stonyfield prepared me for my next role. By being a part of different departments, I understood how best to support them. I went from manufacturing to loss analysis and employee training and now I work in Human Resources. Every step of the way, I’ve felt supported.

Seeking more knowledge about organizational development and leading teams, Aura decided to work toward her M.S. in Leadership at Granite State. As her career has changed and responsibilities increased, her academic experiences were essential.

I’ve been extremely lucky to be surrounded by people who have supported and contributed to who I am and nurtured my capabilities including peers, family, supervisors, advisors, and faculty who inspire and challenge me. And, it’s my fellow students. I have the opportunity to take classes with students from different industries – accounting, finance, public service, teaching, marketing, nonprofits – but we all come together to learn from one another.

On a deeply personal level, Aura finds the greatest joy in encouraging others. She is involved in many community organizations such as the Diversity Workforce Coalition and local animal shelter, serves on the student advisory board at Granite State College, and seeks every opportunity to grow in order to make an impact.

There are many opportunities to make a difference. People have invested a lot in me. They have invested something they can’t get back: time. It’s important for me to do the same and utilize that learning to help others progress.

Granite State College student enjoying her running hobby.

Through her newfound love of running, Aura inspired her family, friends and co-workers while surprising herself. She discovered her new passion “accidentally” about 10 years ago when a colleague encouraged her to join a 5K race sponsored by Stonyfield. By 2012, she ran her first full marathon in Hampton, New Hampshire. And, in 2015, ran in the Boston Marathon with a sponsorship from Stonyfield Organic.

After earning her master’s degree in 2020, Aura received an exciting opportunity to advance into a director-level position at different organization. She continues to be thankful to Stonyfield and Granite State College for supporting her growth, and she’s committed to finding ways to pay it forward to both her professional community and as a proud alumna of Granite State College.

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