Mariel Branagan

Mariel Branagan

Deputy Program Manager

National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)

Washington, DC USA

Get involved in as many ways as you can...what can you do to help?


By Roadtrip Nation

Mariel Branagan


My road in life has been direct.
In high school, she watched a lot of Law & Order: SVU—admits she was inspired to pursue her career because of the character, Dr. Huang.
Attended Old Dominion University where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice.
Took a gap year before going to graduate school and volunteered for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where she worked as a referral specialist.
She then went on to attend Marymount University where she received her master’s degree in forensic and legal psychology.
In order to satisfy the requirements for her graduate degree, she interned at Friends of Guest House, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women re-enter the community after incarceration.
After her internship was over, she managed to secure a full-time position working there as a Program Coordinator.
While there, she helped start up their workforce development program, which helped women find employment after being incarcerated.
She is now the Deputy Program Manager for the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), which helps credential military sexual assault victim advocates.
Keep following my journey


Deputy Program Manager

I direct efforts to credential around 12,000 military sexual assault victim advocates a year.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Helping People

Day to Day

My job is to help execute the congressionally mandated program for victim assistance in the military. In order for people in the military to be victim advocates or sexual assault response coordinators, they need to be credentialed. My job is to ensure that anyone who wants to work in that area gets the credentials that they need and have completed all of the training necessary. I receive and assist in processing applications and do any follow up necessary for applicants who need guidance.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Get more involved early on. Volunteer or intern (paid or unpaid), the experience you get is invaluable. This is how you make connections and get opportunities that would be of interest to you.


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"Nonprofits are challenging. I don't want to be here anymore."

Challenges I Overcame

Work Stress
School Stress
Family Stress