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Nearly 200 Years—Learn More About Norwich

Photo: NU's Tracey Poirier poses with students Charles Grunnert and Alex Swofford

From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

Rook. Norwich alum. Rhodes Scholar. Marine officer. U.S. Army War College graduate. Current lieutenant colonel in the Vermont National Guard. If anyone epitomizes the leadership lab that is Norwich, it’s Tracey Poirier ’96. In December, the mother of four deployed to support Special Forces operations in Afghanistan. When not on active duty, Poirier serves as senior vice president for leadership and student experience at Norwich, teaching leadership skills in the four-year Leadership Development Program she created for NU’s Corps and civilian students.

However, Poirier is the first to admit that she’s no Patton. “I’ve got this giant smile, and I laugh all the time.” And that’s okay with her. Such insights are the kind she invites her leadership students to make. “We focus a lot on knowing yourself, understanding what makes you tick.” That includes knowing what brings out your best and your worst and how you communicate and work in a group. Poirier says the program is not about teaching leadership, per se. Rather, “it’s about teaching components so that students can find their own leadership.” By knowing more about themselves, students can begin to understand the people around them, learn how to put together the best team, and bring out their best.

Poirier says she was often told as a young officer to be a good leader. But rarely did the conversation move beyond that. “In my early career, not a lot of people sat me down and said, Let’s work on little bits. Let’s just focus on this one piece—like how do you communicate? How do you best motivate others?” At Norwich, Poirier has changed that.