"Consider every door that is presented to you, even if you do not want to open it. You never know who you will meet, what you will learn, how you might apply what you have learned, or what opportunity might come next — it might be your career."
Home: Dallas, Texas
UT Dallas Degree: Masters of Public Affairs, expected Spring 2014
Profession: Executive council assistant to Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates-The City of Dallas
Every day is new and different in the Mayor/City Council Office in Dallas! Some of my day-to-day tasks include maintaining Councilwoman Gates' calendar, responding to constituent concerns, researching issues, briefing the councilwoman on issues, advising her on potential resolutions, organizing Town Hall meetings and other events, and attending luncheons on her behalf. I work very closely with City staff to collaborate on issues and how to best solve problems.
Previous to my current position, I worked for the YMCA of Greater Seattle and volunteered as a case management assistant for the Seattle Municipal Court's Probation Department. Additionally, I obtained a Bachelor of Political Science degree from Elon University.
The Value of My Degree
I would not be here if I had not been enrolled in the Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) program. Perhaps, it is the luck of the draw, but having former Dallas City Manager Mr. Ted Benavides as your professor has its perks. Through him, I obtained an internship with Intergovernmental Services at City Hall. I worked very hard to set myself apart, knowing this could be my chance for a full-time position with the city. A few weeks later, I was asked to start shadowing for the council assistant position for an incoming councilmember. The degree has also provided me a broad, yet thorough understanding of local government operations and practical management and budgeting skills. I feel confident to move forward into managerial positions at the end of this program.
My EPPS Success
I attribute my success to the availability and willingness of our professors to invest in our individuality as students. The first few years after graduating college, and even during my first semester of the MPA program, I searched for meaning in my career amidst a sea of self-doubt and amidst a tough economic recession. Through my search I came in contact with a handful of professors who earnestly listened and gave me solid, life-changing advice. Dr. Donald Arbuckle recommended that I become a Writing Consultant with the University — a job that I took for a few months and thoroughly enjoyed, and that also improved my writing capabilities and critiquing skills. Another professor, Dr. Meghna Sabharwal, encouraged (and continues to encourage) me to continue on with my PhD — a task that is certainly daunting, but less overwhelming with her continued support. They saw the potential success in me that I never saw in myself. I attribute my success in the program to them, and many more mentors who have guided and encouraged me throughout my time in the program.
Advice for EPPS Students
Consider every door that is presented to you, even if you don't want to open it. There were plenty of ordinary opportunities that I took that I didn't feel mattered at the time. Volunteer opportunities, seminars, conferences, lectures or interviews will come into your life at the most inopportune moments, and it will feel like work trying to fit them into your schedule. These opportunities may not have much meaning to you before, during, or after you attend, but more times than not, I have taken away something valuable — even if I realized the value a few months later. You never know who you will meet, what you will learn, how you might apply what you have learned, or what opportunity might come next — it might be your career.
I enjoy swimming, running, kayaking, happy hour with friends, watching college basketball, antique shopping, and decorating!
Posted January 2014