“The MPA at UT Dallas gave me the practical skills necessary to succeed within the federal government.”
Home: Bethesda, Maryland
UT Dallas Degree: Master of Public Affairs
Profession: Presidential Management Fellow, National Cancer Institute (within National Institutes of Health)
As a Presidential Management Fellow, I spend three to five months in different offices throughout the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Last fall, I spent four months on an “external” rotation at the State Department’s Public Affairs and Outreach office, where I led efforts to publicize non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – one of the major themes of this year’s UN General Assembly high-level meeting. That experience provided a solid foundation for my next rotation at NCI’s new Center for Global Health, where I recently concluded an outreach project related to NCI-sponsored cancer centers. I will convert to a permanent position at NCI in August of 2012.
Prior to joining the National Cancer Institute I was Site Coordinator for Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc. while I was finishing my studies at UT Dallas. During my three years in that capacity, I opened and ran Catholic Charities’ first-ever site office in Garland, Texas. In early 2010, I worked as an intern in the Public Affairs section of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, an opportunity I found through UT Dallas’ Career Center. The internship served as a capstone to my academic career.
The Value of My Degree
The MPA from UT Dallas gave me the practical skills necessary to succeed within the federal government. Though I continue to draw upon what I learned in all of my courses, I found Dr. Nic Valcik’s Human Resources Management and Ted Benavides’ Government, Financial Management and Budgeting to be particularly useful in my efforts to understand how my role fits into the overall picture.
My EPPS Success
I attribute my success at UT Dallas to a great, supportive faculty and networking opportunities provided to me while in school. Participation in Dr. Don Arbuckle’s Inaugural Graduate Program in Public Policy at the Archer Center in Washington, DC in May of 2009 encouraged me to pursue a career at the federal level and apply for the Presidential Management Fellow program later that year.
Advice for EPPS Students
Take advantage of experiential learning opportunities. Well before the conclusion of your program, apply for as many jobs and internships (such as the Presidential Management Fellows program) as possible. The ideal scenario is that you will be able to choose between multiple prospects.
I enjoy speaking Spanish as a second language whenever possible, singing with the National Institutes of Health Chamber Singers, traveling the world and exploring the Washington, DC area.
Posted January 2012