Bonnie Dubier

Dual Degree in Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Online

Director of Personnel at Cummings and Kennedy Law Firm

Newport, NC

Pursuing Her Third Master’s at Pepperdine

Bonnie Dubier has lived all over the U.S., moving from state to state with her minister parents growing up. She started her career in marketing and advertising and worked as a theater actress before landing in Newport, North Carolina, 18 years ago, where she currently works in criminal defense. She is enrolled in Pepperdine’s online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and the Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) programs, and is also pursuing her MBA.

“I’m really grateful for Pepperdine’s staff that does all of the informational sessions and recruits students to the programs because they’re very persistent. They don’t give up on you, they make sure you get your application in by the deadline, and because of that, I am now on to degree number three.”

Clarifying Her Future Career Path

At a crossroads a few years ago, Bonnie got her paralegal technology degree. Everyone told her she should become a lawyer, but at her stage of life—married with kids—relocating to attend law school wasn’t an option. Then she found Pepperdine’s online MLS program.

“It was meant to be. The program gave me insight into what I want to do, and it clarified for me what I don’t want to do, and that was probably the biggest thing I took away from it.” 

Unexpected Applications

Bonnie found that her classes were so interesting, she just kept going, enrolling in the MDR program as well. The curriculum is directly applicable to her work with clients from different backgrounds and cultures, as well as in building business relationships. She also discovered an unexpected personal benefit: learning to better communicate with her sons, both of whom are on the autism spectrum.

“I did my final project on that in the Psychology of Conflict class, and it’s been just a complete 180 in dealing with my kids. It’s taught me so many techniques and skills to communicate with them effectively.”

A Changed Person

To any prospective students considering the online MLS, MDR, or MBA, Bonnie would say that if she can do it, anyone can do it. Considered a “misfit” for a long time, she says her experience in the programs have changed her as a person. Bonnie was selected by a school committee made up of faculty to give the commencement speech at graduation last January. 

“It was so amazing to get that honor, and I’m so thankful for Pepperdine. I am where I am today because of Pepperdine.”

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