Professional Work Experience (PWE)

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My first semester in the MPA program

Written by Cara Robinson

This post was written by 1st year student Julia Egger.

Making the decision to attend graduate school was very daunting. I was both nervous and excited on my first day at UNC. I was not sure what to expect or even if I had made the right decision. Walking into Knapp-Sanders for the first time as a student officially was surreal. I was anxious about what the program had in store for me, and wondered what I would get out of it.

As we all gathered in the classroom on the first day, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. Each one of my classmates are so talented and intelligent. We all quickly became friends, and we get together regularly. From cheering on the Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium to Karaoke at Lindas. We have made strong lasting bonds with each other.

I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.

The coursework is challenging yet rewarding. The material is incredibly engaging, and the courses shape you into a public service leader. I have learned so much about working in the public sector from our experienced faculty, as well as the practitioners that they invite to the classroom as guest speakers. The faculty, professors, and your peers all want to see you succeed. The UNC MPA program is designed to help you grow professionally and academically. The program offers countless opportunities to network, learn, and hone your professional skills.

This semester was very enlightening about what it means to be a public administrator. I originally was not sure what I wanted to do with the MPA, but over this semester I have grown interested in nonprofit management. My favorite course this semester was PUBA 709 Foundations of Public Administration. Dr. Obed Pasha re-designed this course for my cohort, and he did an exceptional job. The class discussions we had on the theories of public administration was extremely fascinating. I am looking forward to taking PUBA 710 Organizational Theory next semester with Dr. Willow Jacobson.

I cannot believe that my first semester is almost over. It feels like the first day was just yesterday. I have made so many friends and have had so many amazing experiences in just three months. I am so excited to continue this journey with my peers, and I cannot wait for next semester.

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