Degree & graduation year: Master of Public Policy and Administration, 2009
What I do: As a staff member of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, I manage daily operations of the ADVANCE Program and work with the ADVANCE PIs team with a variety of administrative groups and offices on campus on transforming institutional structure and culture around collaborative research, inclusive community, and departmental decision-making to advance equity and inclusion for women and faculty of color in STEM disciplines.
How I ended up working there: I have been working at UMass Amherst since I graduated from SPP (then CPPA) on a whole range of both domestic and international research projects and doctoral training programs in STEM disciplines.
The best part of my job: I feel fortunate to work at UMass in my new capacity at a time of institutional transformation and to contribute to making the campus a more equitable and inclusive place for all.
A recent exciting work experience: Learning new things while contributing to the success of others is what I find exciting in my work. I really appreciate my experience as a program coordinator for two interdisciplinary T32 training programs for doctoral students in health sciences. I enjoyed contributing to the students’ positive graduate training experience and future professional success. During that process, I realized that I had discovered a new world on campus that was hidden from my view before, and I enjoyed interacting with the faculty from four participating departments, staff members, and especially graduate students. It was exciting to educate myself about the state-of-the-art research in health sciences from presentations by the lab groups, and to learn what is behind the discoveries advancing knowledge on human health.
How the School of Public Policy prepared me for my career: I am grateful to my professors with whom I took courses: Michael Ash, Joya Misra, Krista Harper, Jane Fountain, David Mednicoff, John Hird, and Rich Taupier, as well as David Buchanan from the School of Public Health & Health Sciences, to name a few.
In our program, you learn from the professors as much as you learn from fellow classmates, who also were instrumental in helping me navigate the new world of graduate school in the USA. I appreciated gaining the skills of critical thinking and writing (lots of reading and writing assignments), learning about research methodology, gaining a wider understanding of the world problems that a policy maker in an ideal and not-so-ideal world needs to have, and learning through hands-on team projects on policy problems. I would also say that networking has played a big role in my professional path.
Advice to students considering a degree in public policy: The more experience you have before you start the program in public policy, the better. It will help widen your perspective and understand of the problems you are trying to address.
Future plans: For now, I would like to continue working in higher education settings.