Student Spotlight: Robert Richardson

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Hometown: Rochester, New York

Program: MPA, Public Management Emphasis

Undergraduate College and Major: University of Hartford, BA, magna cum laude, Politics & Government

Expected Graduation Date: May 2017

How and why did you decide to apply for The College at Brockport MPA program?

Completing a secondary degree has been on the “to do” list since finishing undergrad, and is something I wanted to finish before starting a family. I looked into applying to the MPA program about 5 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. After consistent encouragement from an extremely supportive spouse, I applied last summer and was accepted.

Choosing this program was a no-brainer. I wanted to enroll in an accredited program with a proven track record of producing leaders who make a difference. The Brockport MPA program boasts an impressive list of alumni who hold vital positions in the Public, Healthcare and Non-Profit sectors and have a meaningfully impact on the world around them. I want to contribute to that legacy.

Previous Occupations

The majority of my professional experience since graduating from Hartford is in non-profit administration and youth development. I spent over eight years working for the YMCA of Greater Rochester before leaving to pursue my MPA full time, serving as the Association OCFS Coordinator and as the Assistant Director at Lewis St. Child Care Center. I have also coached high school athletics for the last eleven years at Harley-Allendale Columbia (HAC), primarily in the varsity soccer and basketball programs.

What have you enjoyed most about the program so far?

I couldn’t be happier with my choice to join the Brockport MPA community. I’ve enjoyed the experience on several different levels, and the program has exceeded anything I could have expected. The faculty is friendly and incredibly knowledgeable, and the discussion based class-room environment creates opportunities to learn from my peers. The curriculum content is constantly evaluated and revised to ensure MPA students learn the relevant skills required to manage in the public sector successfully. Through classes like Financial Management and Research & Program Evaluation, I gained valuable tools and developed new skills that will make me a stronger public servant. I’ve also enjoyed serving on the Graduate Student Steering Committee and contributing to the overall MPA program experience.

What are your future goals?

I’m interested in pursuing a career in public policy, public management or lobbying. Through my work with the Y, I’ve discovered I’m passionate about both process management and group advocacy. I’m looking to turn my eye for efficiency, experience in program quality and compliance, and strong communication and relationship building skills into a position supporting the development and promoting the mission of a public organization.

What advice do you have for future students?

I’ve never been pushed harder academically in my entire life, but I’ve never been more engaged. The material is challenging and can be time consuming, but is all relevant to the field. The program will strengthen your strategic and critical thinking skills and help you identify your strengths as well as opportunities to improve, so you must be open to constructive criticism from both professors and peers. Come ready to work and keep an open mind if you want to be successful.

I also recommend getting involved socially as well as academically. The MPA program has incredible people with varying backgrounds from all over the world, so you’re bound to meet a few people you connect with. Join the Student Steering Committee, attend Pub-Nights, participate in department celebrations and networking events—the relationships you develop will be priceless personally and/or professionally. If you silo yourself and only focus on the coursework, you’ll miss out on the full MPA experience.

Last Updated 10/12/17

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