By Jessica Andrepont
As the first year of my journey to earn my Master of Public Affairs (MoPA) from the University of San Francisco (USF) draws to a close, I take this unique opportunity of guest blogging to reflect on this adventure. I picked the MoPA program because I wanted to experience the best educational blending of political and policy theory and the practical application of that theory.
With every class, McCarthy Center sponsored workshop, and career advisory meeting — even from back in orientation — I have felt my decision to pick this program over all others was the right one. Between my professional skills, what I am learning, and the name recognition of the MoPA program and USF, I have been able to:
1- connect with influential community and political stakeholders,
2- secure internships,
3- and pursue enriching personal and professional experiences.
But, a graduate school program isn’t just about technical learning; it is about building relationships and networks that span a lifetime of careers and locales — a network that can help to position you for the next career opportunity. Every member of my cohort (#5), every previous cohort, and every one that comes after us are members of a community dedicated to supporting each other. We are friends. We are colleagues. And, in some cases, we are even coworkers!
Those kinds of reciprocal relationships are supposed to be common across graduate school programs, but oftentimes they don’t happen. You get out of any experience what you put in; and we actively work to achieve that ideal of community building within cohorts. I feel honored to be part of this distinctive program.
Lastly, with the internship season on the horizon, I am reminded of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good’s mission: “In order to fashion a more humane and just world,…[the Center] educates leaders committed to lives of ethical public service by implementing academically rigorous programs, cultivating authentic community partnerships, and creating transformational experiences.”
That commitment influences every class in the MoPA program. That commitment is alive in every student who will be serving in industry-related workplaces this Summer. That commitment is what incites me to earn my degree and continue to live by this philosophy:
“You must be the change you wish to see in this world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
I have committed my personal and professional life to leading others by those words. The USF MoPA program and the McCarthy Center are already helping me to better live and lead by those words. I’m excited to see what year two brings!