Spring Break Developments

Hello everyone! Happy Spring Quarter! Can you believe its spring already?! The sunshine tells me it is, but it still doesn’t feel real yet. This quarter is already shaping up to be intense!

My trip to D.C. over break was great! I was able to attend the IEDC conference and meet quite a few economic developers from across the nation. Jeff Finkle, the President and CEO (but more importantly, an OU alum and Voinovich School Fellow), was gracious enough to let me attend—the conference is always informational and I found a new topic in economic development that I want to research more! I also had the opportunity to meet with Neal Denton of the American Red Cross (also an OU alum!), who was great—I got feedback on my resume and some pointers for moving to D.C. I’m getting antsy, since it’s only a couple months away!

This quarter I’m taking Public Policy Analysis and Nonprofit Fundraising. Both classes seem like they will be interesting, and will add some extra structure to my quarter. I don’t technically need either class to graduate (could have done that last quarter), but why pass up the opportunity to learn something new? I also have my Portfolio to complete this quarter…I have all of the papers together, I just need to edit!

Work this quarter will consist of wrapping up my time at the Voinovich School. I’m working on the Semi-Annual Report to turn in at the beginning of April, as well as a final report for one of our communities. It’s bittersweet to know I’ll be leaving at the end of quarter. I’ve enjoyed my time at the school and have learned more in the last year and a half than I did in all of undergrad (things I’ll be able to apply to the real world anyway), but it feels like time to move on.

I’m finally to the point where I’m ready to graduate and start my life in D.C. I have a plan for applying for jobs, so keep your fingers crossed for me! Not having a very specific plan is torture for me (the girl who lives for her color-coded work-plans), but I’ve heard that’s the norm for many who move straight to D.C.—you have to be ready for anything.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” –Lewis Carroll

Whatever you say, Mr. Carroll—I’ll take your word for it!

Hope you all have a great Week 1!

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A Fresh Perspective

Hello! My name is Roman Suer and I am a first-year MPA student here at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. I’m excited to be a new contributor to the MPA blog and hope that my experiences provide some insight into my life as an MPA student and citizen of Athens, Ohio. Currently, I’m enrolled in two classes, Public Budgeting and Nonprofit Management, both of which are interesting and are providing me with skills necessary for life in the public sector, regardless of where I end up. At this point I’m not entirely sure of what my post-graduation plans are, but I’ll be sure to post such content as the quarter progresses. Currently, an enthusiastic collection of career interests are floating around in my head that may need some distilling as I continue with the program.

So, a little about me: I was raised on the West coast of Puerto Rico with my parents and two siblings, and have been living in Athens for the past decade. Yes, I am a townie – and proud! Athens has provided me with great opportunities that I would not have had anywhere else. I am an OU alumnus – having graduated this past spring with a major in Organizational Communication Studies, minors in Spanish and Linguistics, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Global Leadership Center certificates. I worked at the Office of International Student and Faculty Services for three years during my undergrad as Layout Designer and Copy Editor for the online publication, the International Voice, and also served as Program Coordinator for this past spring’s International Week festivities.

When I’m not in school or working, I rehearse and perform with an African drum and dance nonprofit touring company called Azaguno, with which I’ve had the privilege of performing at numerous festivals and conferences domestically and internationally. The company has helped me explore my passion for music and has enabled me to share the cultures of various African and Caribbean nations through song, dance, drum, and theater. I have a loving family that has always inspired me to push further and explore various opportunities and it is my hope that I make it proud. My goal is to absorb as much knowledge and applied learning at the Voinovich School that I can so that I may apply it to a career that fits my varied interests. My thinking is that doing so would ensure that I serve the public with dignity and respect.

—Roman Suer

Searching for a Job

Happy Monday! Class work is slowly (but surely) gearing up, and reading is the name of the game.

Because my first few weeks of class are going to be fairly slow in written work, I’m taking this time to focus on post-graduation. I mentioned briefly in the last post that I’m in shock over almost being done with school—I never thought I’d see the day!—but, per my personality, it is time to plan for all contingencies.

I’ve been applying to federal jobs (working and reworking my resume and cover letter each time) but haven’t had much luck. I’m applying for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) internship through the Voinovich School for the summer. This internship works in the field of economic development (!!!!!!) and would put me on the ground in D.C. I would have more opportunities to network and potentially attain a job in the economic development field. For me, this is my ideal situation.

Regardless of the outcome of the internship application, I plan to be in D.C. for Spring Break and hope to attend the IEDC national conference. Like I said before, this is a great networking opportunity, plus it is a great opportunity to attend seminars on the timely issues in economic development. While in D.C., I also plan to visit with my second cousin who works for the Federal Reserve in Richmond, VA, and worked in D.C. at the beginning of his career. I’m hoping he can give me some advice on how to approach my job search.

My fall back plan (because I always have to have one) is to apply to jobs across the public sector, in Ohio, D.C., and San Diego (my brother is stationed there, and I absolutely love the city). I have couches to crash on in all three areas, so I feel like it will work out.

It has to work out.

What makes me feel better about all of this (because I know I’m not the only one feeling this way) is that I know there are thousands of other young professionals in the exact same situation—educated, and searching desperately for a job. This is the unfortunate reality for many in my age group. My goal is to be more motivated; more qualified, and cast my net wider than my peers. I’m nervous, but driven. Luckily for me, my school has done a lot for me, preparing me for this kind of search.

“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I must say, Ralph—I’m terrified. But hey, what’s life without a little bit of excitement?