By Kevin Schaffner (Class of 2014)
After graduating back in May 2015, I thought I was going to immediately find a great job. Heck, why wouldn’t I? I had years of military experience, had two internships under my belt, and had been working in financial aid for two years. The reality is, at least it was for me, that it is hard to find a decent job with only a bachelor’s. I spent my entire summer applying, interviewing, following up, and getting rejected. Needless to say, my summer after graduation wasn’t that great. However, there was light at the end of tunnel.
With money quickly running out I knew I had to do something fast. I contemplated going back to ECSU for another degree and reap the benefits of my GI Bill but I knew that would just be a waste. Then a good friend of mine recommended that I apply to the Masters of Public Administration Program at the University of Connecticut. So in the final hour I applied and shortly after I was graciously admitted into the program. To date, applying and attending the MPA Program at UCONN has been the best decision I have ever made. Here are a few reasons why I love the program and why you should think about applying.
- It is a ranked Public Administration Program at one of the best public universities in the country. Not only is this a ranked program but it is also intentionally small. The faculty and administrators focus on offering the best education to students so that when students graduate, they represent the MPA Program in their workplace. This has clearly worked since many agencies hire directly from the program and the most recent graduating class has a 100% employment rate in positions related to the field.
- The program works directly with many agencies and businesses around the state to provide paid internships which offer a generous stipend and credits. Also, second year students who are interning are eligible to receive a tuition waiver. The purpose of internship program is to give higher level work experience to students at well-known agencies and businesses. I am currently taking advantage of this program and am interning at Newington Public Schools as a Communications Specialist. I am in charge of generating positive press about the school district and love every moment of it.
- The course schedule and course load per class are extremely manageable. I always feared graduate school was going to be too advanced for me, but honestly I am finding my current work load much more manageable than in my undergrad. This is primarily because I typically have one class a day and the courses are applicable to what I intend to do after graduation. Ideally I would like to work for an agency that works in either transportation or foreign policy.
Currently there are not many ECSU Political Science graduates in the MPA Program and I do not understand why. Eastern’s Political Science Department does an excellent job preparing students for the MPA program. The quantitative and qualitative courses do a wonderful job preparing students for the analytical portion of the MPA program. Also the writing intensive courses at Eastern gave me a solid background in academic writing which will help me when writing studies and memorandums. From what I have seen, Eastern’s Political Science Department better prepares students for the MPA Program than UCONN’s Political Science department.
This opportunity has given me a direct path to my dream of becoming a public servant and I can finally see my end goal in sight. The contrast between who I was during the summer while looking for a job, and who I am now is almost indistinguishable. If you are not sure what you are going to do after graduation, I highly recommend you apply to the UCONN MPA Program. This has been the best decision of my life and I’m sure it will be yours too!
If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.