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Student/Alumni Spotlight

Student Spotlight

 

 

Congratulations to Faten Alharbi for her recent graduation from the MPA program! Learn more about her research and career aspirations.

 

 

 

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Alumni Spotlight

Interviews With Our Graduates

Alan Lohof, 2007 »»

Alan Lohof, 2007

 

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?

 

I currently work at the Billings Fire Department as a Captain and Paramedic.

 

Can you please describe some of your job responsibilities/daily tasks?

 

I am in command of an engine company that includes myself, and engineer and a firefighter. We operate out of a fire station providing service for an area of Billings. My duties include responding to emergency calls and mitigating those events.

 

Was the M.P.A. a requirement for your position? Did it further or fast-track your career?

 

MPA was not a requirement. If I choose to apply for a Chief level position in the fire department, here or elsewhere, an MPA will be of great value.

 

What advice would you give prospective M.P.A. students?

 

An MPA is an excellent degree for students who envision themselves leading a large public organization.

 

What advice would you give current M.P.A. students?

 

I found my research project to be very fulfilling. Pick a topic that you have real interest in.

 

What was the title of your Advanced Research Paper?

 

“False automatic fire alarms in the city of Billings, Montana: a case study”

 

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Forrest Mandeville, 2013 »»

Forrest Mandeville, 2013

 

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?

 

I am currently a Planner at Engineering West in Columbus, MT. I am also a Representative-Elect in the Montana State Legislature.

 

Can you please describe some of your job responsibilities/daily tasks?

 

Land use consulting; writing subdivision applications, including environmental assessments; representing clients before Planning Board meetings and Commissioner Meetings; Request For Proposal writing; etc.

 

Was the M.P.A. a requirement for your position? Did it further or fast-track your career?

 

It was not a requirement, but it probably helped my career.

 

What advice would you give prospective M.P.A. students?

 

Do the research and make sure of your decision; you do not want to second-guess your decision mid-way through the program.

 

I looked at a lot of comparisons between the opportunities afforded by various masters programs before settling on the MPA.

 

What advice would you give current M.P.A. students?

 

Do it as quickly as possible and don’t drag your feet or procrastinate the Advanced Research Paper.

 

What was your first job after attaining your M.P.A?

 

I worked full-time as a Planner for Stillwater County, MT, while pursuing my MPA and continued in that position for about a year afterward.

 

What was the title of your Advanced Research Paper?

 

The Effect of Term Limits in the Montana State Legislature on Public Administrators.

 

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Sterling Rech, 2011 »»

Sterling M. Rech, 2011

 

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?

 

United States Bureau of Reclamation, Public Affairs Specialist

 

Can you please describe some of your job responsibilities/daily tasks?

 

Public speaking/delivering presentation; building presentations and talking points for senior-level managers; writing/editing news releases; constructing public affairs guidance plans; answering media inquiries and doing interviews. I also serve as the assistant editor of region-wide internal newsletter, Plains Talk, published twice a year as a glossy magazine-style publication. This may also include writing/editing feature stories, copy editing and photography, as well as layout and design with industry software. I also use Web software to manage the Region’s employee blog.

 

Was the M.P.A. a requirement for your position? Did it further or fast-track your career?

 

I needed to pursue a degree for acceptance into the SCEP (Student Career Employment Program), which is now called the Pathways Program in the Federal Government. I already had a B.S. degree, so the next logical stage was a Masters, and the MPA degree offered the best curriculum for someone advancing in the public sector – for me it was the equivalent of an MBA in the private sector. I was able to get hired as a Permanent Full-Time (PFT) employee at Reclamation soon after graduating from the MPA program, and have advanced since then, so I can say that I was able to further my career, due in part to the MPA degree, along with the experience gained while working at Reclamation during that time.

 

What advice would you give prospective M.P.A. students?

 

There are a host of careers in the public sector that offer rewarding benefits. In my honest opinion, the public sector is rewarding for me because I don’t have to go to work every day and make someone else a lot of money (as you would in a corporation or business). I like the non-profit aspect of government service, being able to provide sustaining public services such as, wholesale irrigation water, hydroelectric power, and potable water for rural communities at low cost is very rewarding. The MPA delivers a wide range of classes providing a strong background for leadership and management in the public sector.

 

What advice would you give current M.P.A. students?

 

You’ve already taken a worthy step in advancing your existing career, or fortifying your education in preparation for starting a new career. Pay close attention to the discussion generated by professors and other classmates … some of the best knowledge I attained while in the program was offered by students who already had 20+ years of work experience under their belt, and always had strong arguments to present during class discussions. Also, use your research papers and assignments wisely – this is a critical area that allows you to spend time researching and exploring topics that you may not otherwise be able to. If used to your advantage, the years you spend in the MPA program can be the equivalent of decades of experience in the workforce, so appreciate them while they’re here, and remember them once you’ve moved on. Cheers -

 

What was your first job after attaining your M.P.A?

 

Student Career Employee at U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

 

Do you feel that the M.P.A. curriculum at MSUB adequately prepared you for your past and/or current positions?

 

While there is an important balance between real world experience, and academic training … the MPA program succeeds because of its emphasis on practical applications, with a robust background in theory. It will give you the foundation you need to start a new career in government or private service, or enhance your existing career with new ideas, discussions on current affairs, and a wealth of knowledge from a variety of topics addressed at the management level in professional service.

 

What was the title of your Advanced Research Paper?

 

“A study examining the effects of using targeted communication to impact employee morale and workplace satisfaction in a public agency.”

 

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Lloyd Shangreaux, 2011 »»

Lloyd Shangreaux, 2011

 

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?

 

I currently work as a Team Lead for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

Can you please describe some of your job responsibilities/daily tasks?

 

I supervise a team of 4 working to implement a program under the 1915i Medicaid home and community based services state plan amendment option. The program is designed to move appropriate people from state psychiatric hospitals into more suitable, less restrictive community settings by providing an array of community based supports and services to meet their needs.

 

Was the M.P.A. a requirement for your position? Did it further or fast-track your career?

 

It was not a requirement for the position, however; it was a preferred qualification. Having an MPA has certainly furthered my career in that the credential has made me much more attractive to employers.

 

What advice would you give prospective M.P.A. students?

 

If you currently work in the public sector, or are seeking to pursue a career in the public sector, an MPA will definitely open doors for you. I really believe that the education I received at MSUB fully prepared me for a career in public service. I frequently encounter situations for which I refer back to my training in the MPA program to resolve. The program isn’t easy, but it’s a great investment in your future.

 

What advice would you give current M.P.A. students?

 

Take advantage of internship opportunities if you’re not already working for a public sector entity and view your applied research paper as an opportunity to gain knowledge to further your career. Also, to the extent possible, write your class term papers towards your applied research project, it will save you a ton of time in the end.

 

What was your first job after attaining your M.P.A?

 

I was hired as a Program Specialist for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

Do you feel that the M.P.A. curriculum at MSUB adequately prepared you for your past and/or current positions?

 

Without question, as I stated above, it is almost a daily occurrence that I look back to my training to solve issues that arise at work.

 

What was the title of your Advanced Research Paper?

 

Why Government Institutions Matter in Economic Development on American Indian Reservations.

 

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Rebecca Wagner, 2007 »»

Rebecca Wagner, 2007

 

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?

 

State of Montana, Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor.

 

Can you please describe some of your job responsibilities/daily tasks?

 

I manage a caseload of juveniles involved in the youth court. Specific duties are attending court hearings, testifying, meeting with families, conducting screening and assessments, preparing dispositions for informal proceedings and recommendations for formal proceedings, contact placement providers and establishing placements and developing treatment plans. Monitor youth’s compliance with probation orders. I also supervise other probation officers by providing training, staffing cases weekly, assigning cases, and manage office if my supervisor is unavailable.

 

Was the M.P.A. a requirement for your position? Did it further or fast-track your career?

 

The MPA was not a requirement but it did help with receiving the promotion to supervisor.

 

What advice would you give prospective M.P.A. students?

 

I would encourage students to work in public sector before getting their Masters.

What was the title of your Advanced Research Paper?

 

Effectiveness of Juvenile Out of Home Placements.

 

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Sarah Brockel

Thanks, in part, to her Public Administration degree, Sarah realized her dream by becoming just the second Alumni Relations Director in MSU Billings' storied history.

 

Contact Us

Please contact the office of Graduate Studies for information about this program, admission requirements, application forms, graduate assistantships and other scholarship information.

 

Contact us as well for information about any of our graduate degree programs.

 

Our office is located in McMullen Hall, First Floor.
The office is open from 8:00 to 5:00 (Mountain time) Monday through Friday. Office: 406-657-2238 Fax: 406-657-2302

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