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Guest Column: 3 surprises about studying public policy
By Benjamin Irwin, MPA part-time student and employee at Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Cambridge, Mass.
One of the ways committing to a graduate program is similar to developing a policy initiative is that you have to work incrementally to realize a long-term goal. This formalizes a concept I have learned through experience in my professional life: It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the steps along the way matter, deserve our attention and can be a source of great satisfaction.
There’s more than one way to make a difference. My professional experience has largely been within the federal government, and I entered the MPA program thinking I would continue on that path. However, my coursework has spanned all levels of government and the non-profit world, and I will be prepared for a variety of possible career paths. Northeastern and my classmates have really expanded my perspective on options for achieving public good.
Students should be ready to have an impact now! I joined the program to build an academic framework around my real-world experience. The courses have encouraged me to apply what I am learning in real-time. For example, a semester-long project involved consulting with a local non-profit to evaluate a hospital voucher program that encouraged diabetes patients to purchase fresh produce at local farmers markets. I was surprised and thrilled that my schoolwork could help an actual local organization.