Master of Public Affairs candidate ’17
As I look back on my first semester of graduate school, I remember how I felt starting the Master of Public Affairs (MoPA) program back in August. It had been about a year between finishing my undergraduate work and going back to school, so my chief concern entering the fall 2015 semester was if I would be able to get back into the same routines that had yielded success for me in undergrad.
After the first couple weeks of finding my stride in class, as well as at home, I was able to dive headlong into the courses and materials in front of me. The courses offered in the first semester of the MoPA program were a great way to reground myself on the core pillars of what makes our political system move. Having majored in political science during undergrad, this first semester allowed me to reengage with many of the foundational documents and ideas that guide the political conversations of our day.
As the semester progressed, these foundational steps allowed me to better grasp why things are the way they are today and how looking back at the genesis of these problems and issues can be a tremendous asset in developing how to best proceed forward. By taking this approach, I was able to bring in some of the topics and issues that are close to my heart and use that skillset to help develop possible solutions.
This set the stage for me to be able to write my semester research paper on a topic I care deeply about; politics and sports. By looking into local economic development policies of both Oakland and San Francisco over the past forty years, I was able to see this as at the core of why the two cities have had similar yet very different outcome for seeking new stadiums for their professional baseball teams. Without the great ability, encouragement, and guidance of the MoPA faculty, I would not have been able to draw such conclusions while also writing a research paper that can be used for professional development as well.
My first semester in the MoPA program has showed me that the program has a great ability to take topics I care about and use the courses offered to help further those causes. And while I’m very much enjoying winter break, I do look forward to getting back in the classroom.