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Department of Public Policy & Administration College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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Alumni Profiles

Many of our Alumni have graduated and become great examples and mentors for current and prospective students. The alumni listed below are accomplished, capable, and show the breadth of work that can be accomplished with an MPPA degree.

Eric Guerra

Councilmember

City of Sacramento, District 6

Class of 2008

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During my time in the PPA program, I focused on urban economics and I wrote my thesis on transportation infrastructure. I still work on these issue areas day to day. The MPPA program taught me to tackle large regional problems in a new way and prepared me for my responsibilities as a public servant. When I reflect on my time in the MPPA program it's the support of not only the faculty but the alumni that really defines the experience. As an alumni now, I recognize the importance of coming out to support the current members, being a mentor and helping up-and-coming leaders build their network.

My advice for incoming students is to take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet colleagues that will be the future movers and shakers of the region. Take the time to get to know the rich network that this program offers and make connections with your classmates. Alumni from this program will be influential thought leaders and problem solvers for the state.

I would recommend the MPPA program because individuals who make up the faculty, participants and the alumni all have practical experience in the field.This program is much more than theoretical learning, these individuals have real experience working as practitioners of public policy.

— Eric Guerra

Angela K. Marin

Section Chief, Homelessness

California Department of Housing and Community Development

Class of 2013

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During my time in the PPA program, I focused on urban problems economics and my thesis studied the process of implementation of laws into practice. These specialties have shaped my policy interests and the jobs and projects that I go for. The program gave me a wider perspective on policy issues, gave me tools to analyze public problems, and gave me an outstanding alumni network that I tap into for myself, current students, and fellow alumni.

My advice for incoming students is to embrace the expansion in perspectives that you’ll be faced with; it may give you new ways to think about your career and your place in society. Enjoy the ride!

The PPA program is a perfect balance between public policy and public administration. Most other programs are one or the other. I appreciated the small class format, the opportunities to connect with my professors directly, and the high reputation that the program has in the Sacramento region. I discovered a new interest in public administration and my career pursuits post-grad have followed that thread. I am so grateful for my graduate education and all the doors it has opened.

— Angela K. Marin

Devin Lavelle

Senior Researcher

The California Research Bureau

Class of 2011

devinlavelle.jpgDuring my time in the program, my studies mainly focused on data analysis and economics. Both of those specialties have shaped my policy interests and the jobs and projects that I go for. The MPPA program laid the foundation of so much of the work I do today, and helped me focus on and develop the skills that could best contribute to public policy/my career. This program teaches the concept of looking at issues fairly and impartially, as well as the understanding that biases, and their influences, be acknowledged as key deciding factors of outcomes.

My advice for incoming students is that there are two kinds of theses. Theses that are done and theses that are not done. It won't be your magnum opus, you have a whole career to achieve that. Just get it done.

The breadth of the hybrid MPPA program with the practical, real-world focus provides the best preparation around for careers in government that rarely fall neatly within a single specialty.

— Devin Lavelle

Susan D. Catron

Dean

UC Davis Continuing & Professional Education

Class of 2005

_catron01finalcrop-1_nov18.jpgDuring my time in the MPPA program, the focus of my studies included educational policy which aligned well with my career interests. I'm a strong advocate of the program and recommend it highly. The faculty are dedicated to students' educational and career advancement. Moreover, the program delivers a strong foundation that supports an array of career options.

My advice for new students is to take time to develop relationships with faculty, and expect to put in the effort to realize the full benefits of the experience and knowledge to be gained from the program.

The program enriched and broadened my thinking in ways that inform how I look at the work and how I navigate opportunities and challenges. It also had tangible impacts on my career progression--first, in helping me to secure a position at the LAO, and then to support a successful transition at UC Davis from an operational to academic leadership role.

— Susan D. Catron

Michael Lynch

Co-Founder and CEO

Improve Your Tomorrow

Class of 2014

michaellynch.pngDuring my time in the PPA program, I focused my studies on education policy. After graduating, I went on to focus on education policy in the legislature, and currently run a nonprofit focused on education equity. I recommend the MPPA program almost weekly to somebody! The program was affordable, convenient for working professionals, challenging, and gave me the tools to create change in my community.

My advice for new students is to pick a topic early for your thesis/culminating project and build relationships with your classmates & faculty.

The MPPA program was an invaluable experience. The program (1) increased my confidence and understanding in policy and administration and (2) helped build valuable relationships with alumni, faculty, and other MPPA students, and (3) gave me access to decision-makers.

— Michael Lynch

Puneet Bhullar

Program Officer

The California Council on Science and Technology

Class of 2020

thumbnail_bhullar_headshot.jpgDuring my time in the program, my studies focused on collaborative governance and government contracting. The concept I have used the most from this program would be organizational management. I am constantly redesigning our collaborative techniques at work. I would recommend the program because it does give an in depth look at what public policy and admin entails and provides a great transferable skillset quickly. Another reason I would recommend it is for the network it provides and career opportunities.

My advice to new students is to just start writing. The hardest part is getting something on paper. Embrace the process and you will be better for it at the end.

The program provided so many opportunities to meet new people and expand my network. The program itself expanded my knowledge and gave me the confidence to advocate for my professional growth at work. I would often directly take what I learned in class and apply it to my work.

— Puneet Bhullar