Releasing our 2017 Annual Report

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 10.13.30 AM

Each year the Center strives to honor the legacy of Leo T. McCarthy through programs and scholarship that promote public service and the common good. This includes undergraduate community-engagement learning, faculty and university-wide development, graduate engagement, and community partnerships at both the local and global level. We are excited to share our 2017 annual report in advance of our 15th anniversary celebration on November 9th.

Some of this year’s highlighted achievements include:

  • 19 co-sponsored events
  • 11 advocates for community engagement placements
  • 3,000 service-learners
  • 541 faculty development hours
  • 10 global sustainable development projects
  • 8,400 graduate intern hours
  • 200% increase in public service and community engagement minors
  • 166 local community partners
  • 624 LTMC alumni

We thank all of you for your continued support and look forward to another great year!

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 12.51.42 PM

Alumnus Sees the Future of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center



Jerry Trotter

Program Director, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center

Ayah Mouhktar, our Communications Assistant, interviewed Jerry Trotter at the construction site for the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center. Below is a reflection on her experience meeting Jerry, discussing the new facility and what it will mean for the families and children of San Francisco.

Putting on a hard hat and entering a construction site was not how I planned to spend my Thursday afternoon but what came out of it ended up being one of the most eye opening and inspirational experiences I have ever had.

Walking into what would soon become the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center left me with a sense of hope of a brighter future for the children and families of San Francisco.


Jerry Trotter, Program Director of the facility, is a University of San Francisco alumni (’02) and was recruited by the Multicultural Retention and Recruitment program, which traveled to high schools and recruited students to USF to continue their studies in social justice and the Jesuit mission.

“USF brought me to San Francisco and San Francisco brought me to Booker T. Washington” said Trotter when describing what gave him the drive to want to help the local community.

The new facility is being built at 800 Presidio Avenue and will be made up of 5 floors compiled of 49 housing units, an NBA regulation size gym, a mind/body health center, computer and career lab and a community garden on the roof. It began as an idea as a place for families in the community to convene and organize and is a realistic way to meet the needs for food, education and secure housing. Trotter cares for the children of San Francisco and wants one simple thing to come out of all the great work he does, “we want to have them stay and live in the city they grew up in”

San Francisco and USF in particular played a large role in Trotter’s work and his passion for social justice and the mentality of leading to succeed, and not just to seeing himself succeed alone but taking rising with the community as a whole. The hard work of Jerry Trotter is one that is admirable and inspirational not for just the common citizen but especially USF students who look to actually change the world from here- less than a mile away from the center of campus.

Changing Transportation: My Path from USF to Sacramento

Simonds train photoshoot

Shannon Simonds
Master of Arts in Urban Affairs ’16
Transportation Planner, Caltrans

When I started at Master of Arts in Urban Affairs program at the University of San Francisco I just knew that I was interested in understanding the opportunities to mitigate climate change through urban transportation policies and planning. To be working for the state of California as a transportation planner at Caltrans just two years later as an alumna of the Urban Affairs program is still a little crazy to me; but also very exciting.

As a graduate student, I tailored my classes and research to focus on different aspects of transportation as it relates to the environment and urban spaces—and it worked! I get to work in the field I studied and get to learn something new every day. I currently work on the Rail Planning team developing the 2018 State Rail Plan. I am working to coordinate commuter, regional and intercity trains with freight and local bus routes to create a truly integrated, state-wide system. I like that I get to learn about a new area of transportation for me—rail while bringing in a new perspective that tries to incorporate climate sensitivities and equity into the rail planning processes.

Continue reading

3 Numbers To Know About Our Masters Programs

The Master of Public Affairs and Practical Politics (MoPA) program was founded in 2010 and graduated its first cohort in 2011. The vision of MoPA was to prepare students to thrive in the public affairs and political worlds that is unique to the Bay Area. A few years later in 2013, the Master of Arts in Urban Affairs (Urban) was established. Urban was designed to train students to graduate ready to be specialists in analyzing the policy challenges of 21st century urbanism—providing the skills and the knowledge to be effective leaders in community-driven urban policy and projects.

Here are MoPA and Urban by-the-numbers:


Both MoPA and Urban allow students to earn a master’s degree in two years. The shift from an 18 month program to a 2-year program provides our students a better opportunity to focus on their capstones and internships more intensively. Read about the experiences from some of our graduating MoPA and Urban candidates

MoPA/Urban faculty

Calvin Welch, Keally McBride, Ronald Sundstrom, Larry Magid, Rachel Brahinsky, Tenoch Flores, Nicole Derse, Larry Kamer, Kristin Stimpson, Brian Weiner, Ed Harrington, Lisa Feldstein, Tanu Sankalia, Egon Terplan, Alex Clemens, David Saah, Kevin Hickey, Rebecca Gordon, and Chris Carlsson.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, 19 full-time and adjunct faculty teach classes for both MoPA and Urban. Our faculty are renowned professors and practitioners in their fields of advocacy and lobbying, non-profits, communications, political analysis, data visualization, gentrification, public finance, and more!


Since MoPA’s beginning in 2010, the job placement rate within 6 months of graduating consistently remains above 80%. As of May 2015, we have 110 MoPA and Urban alums! That’s a lot of people to connect with. Our alumni work in non-profits, government sectors, and in private-public partnerships. To read about one alumna’s work, check out alumna, Alia Al-Sharif’s blog!


May 1 deadline

Applications close May 1 for the Master of Public Affairs and Master of Arts in Urban Affairs programs – apply today!

Several students were able to turn their educational career into reality through scholarship funding from generous supporters who believe in our mission. Consider donating today – every little bit helps provide students the opportunity to achieve their higher education dream.

Random acts of kindness


Rebecca McDowell
Master of Public Affairs and Practical Politics candidate ’16

There’s a quote I frequently think of that’s often used when tragic events happen in the world – the Boko Haram kidnapping, the Paris attack, Newtown shooting, Boston bombing, Colorado shootings, Kenya attack and countless others. This quote is well known if you grew up like I did watching Mr. Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
― Fred Rogers

The reason I mention this is because December brings around holiday feelings and the season of giving. Helping others and sharing kindness to the world should be a year round tradition, but often times it can be lost with the business of living or is only noticed during tragic events. The holiday season brings with it a reminder for us to pause and notice those around us and the joy of giving instead of receiving. Growing up in school my principal always reminded us that giving does not necessarily mean only expensive gifts, but through acts of kindness – letting someone know how important they are to you, lending a listening ear, etc. These lessons were instilled in me from a young age and I continue to try to live them out in my everyday life. As a candidate in the Master of Public Affairs program in the Leo T. McCarthy Center at the University of San Francisco studying politics, ethical leadership and what it means to serve others – I continue to see how important these lessons of kindness are in the way of how people work together and help others.

These thoughts and reflection prompted me to create a random acts of kindness calendar for the month of December as a reminder that kindness goes a long way and truly does help make the world a better place. There are some open spots left – what random act of kindness would you suggest? Write your ideas in the comments below!

DECEMBER Random acts of kindness 2015(1)


Diving into our Nation’s Capitol

Presley Attardo

Presley Attardo

As a Media Studies major, I had always been interested in the news, but desired a deeper understanding of political processes. When I heard about USF in DC, I jumped at the opportunity to participate to broaden the scope of my education at USF. Through the program, I gained experience and critical insight to our political system through working, studying and living in our nation’s capitol.

USF in DC is unique since it requires students to work a full-time internship while attending politically oriented classes. For my internship, I worked as a video production intern for the progressive think tank, The Center for American Progress. Since the video department only consisted of two full time employees, I had many individual responsibilities including producing and editing short explainer videos, recording and livestreaming events and guest lecturers at the center, and transcribing audio for our short documentary pieces.
Each week on my day off from work, I attended three classes that focused on political journalism, research, and professional writing. Since the classes dealt with current news headlines and happenings, they often analyzed the subjects I produced videos on for The Center for American Progress. While studying and working in politics concurrently was intense, the combination of theory and praxis gave me a dynamic understanding of how our government operates.

Even outside of my internship and classes, politics dominated most conversations I had in DC. It was exciting living in an environment where everyone was politically savvy and hyperaware of current events. I was always extra motivated to be on top of the latest news in order to join in on conversations and jokes in the student lounge area of the UCDC building and at happy hour after work. These conversations were interesting since, compared to San Franciscans, DCers had a wide range of political viewpoints. Not only did I learn how to navigate conversations with people of differing opinions, but I also learned to be a better listener and learn from those with alternative perspectives.

When I reflect on my time in the USF in DC program, it amazes me how much I experienced in just four months. The skills I gained in DC have carried over into places that I least expected. For example, the professional writing skills I honed in DC improved my overall communication ability and enabled me to excel in my next position as a marketing intern. Additionally, the political knowledge I gained in the program added depth and meaning to course work in my major upon returning to USF. In my media theory classes, I often make connections between the media and politics and am able to share unique insights and anecdotes during class discussions.