Current student Sally Moore expands her interests in education while in the MPA

Written by Cara Robinson

UNC MPA student Sally Moore reflects on her time in the program and what’s next for her.  Sally was recently recognized for her paper entitled, “The Landscape of Ethics Education for Undergraduates at Public Universities” which she presented at the  32nd Annual International Association for Practical and Professional Ethics conference in Portland, Oregon in Spring 2023.  The paper, which she discusses, has also been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Teaching Ethics.  Sally will be graduating in May 2023.


Tell us a little bit about you, your interests, and why you decided to pursue the MPA.

I work full-time at UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics within the Philosophy Department. As the Director of Undergraduate Programming, I work with 130+ students to sharpen their moral reasoning skills through various programs. I decided to pursue the MPA because I was looking for a program where I could grow as a leader and improve my professional work through classes (such as organizational theory and nonprofit management). Also, it didn’t hurt that my brother, Stephen Moore, graduated with his JD/MPA from UNC several years ago!


You have a paper that you are presenting on at an upcoming conference and that paper has been sent for publication.  Can you tell us how this all got started?  Did it really start as an assignment for one of your classes? 

Professor Berner created a space of curiosity and intellectual empowerment in her class. She encouraged us to pursue topics we were genuinely interested in and that would further our careers. She said we would be national experts on our topics by the end of the year, which was exciting and nerve-wracking. So, I decided to (finally) explore a question I’d had in the back of my mind for years: Do other university-based ethics centers provide programs for undergraduates? It turns out no one had formally asked that question before – so I dove in and got to work!


What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, my fiancé and I are moving to Columbus, Ohio! I have just accepted my offer to The Ohio State University’s Ph.D. program in Education (specializing in the Philosophy and History of Education), which starts in the Fall. I plan to explore the role of ethics centers in higher education institutions, which will build on my MPA knowledge and professional experiences.


How has the MPA contributed to your growth both personally and professionally?

The MPA gave me the tools to improve my professional work. I read theories, connected with like-minded peers, tested ideas in collaborative spaces, and learned from experts in the field. Not only did my work improve, but it also became more intentional and enjoyable. Personally, the MPA has awakened an interest in politics I never knew I had. I feel more aware of local issues and better understand national headlines. Plus, I now fully appreciate The West Wing!


So many people think this is a degree for those who want to work in government.  How would you respond to this?

An MPA is for anyone who wants to better their community, regardless of where they work. The UNC MPA program provides students with the knowledge to engage with nonprofit work, local government efforts, university programs, and more. I felt free to explore my interests and was always encouraged by professors to bring in my own expertise. To me, an MPA is one of the most flexible and useful degrees out there.

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