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Alumni Spotlights

Jan

Meet Jan Bents, an alumnus of the MPA program. The MPA program asked him a few questions about life after graduation: 

Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Senior Associate Director of Admissions 
 
What are some of the duties of your job?
This position provides leadership for the Kelley Undergraduate Program admissions team, with responsibility for the creation of a strategic plan, implementation, and outcomes assessment for various pathways to Kelley admission. This position plays a key role in the Undergraduate Program's goal to increase enrollment of target population students in the Kelley School of Business. In addition to the students who ultimately choose to attend IU and Kelley, the Kelley admissions team manages direct and indirect communication with high school students who indicate interest in studying business at Indiana University. Disseminate decisions and manage inquiries and disputes of admission decisions with various constituencies. Responsibilities are of a professional nature, including evaluating student records and interpreting sensitive data. Ability to supervise full-time staff and create innovative programs a must. Creating, planning, and executing the largest recruitment event at Kelley called Direct Admit Day where we see 3000+ guests each spring. 
 
What are some of your past careers, and how did your MPA lead to your new career?
I started as a general admissions counselor at my alma mater in 2012, and then came to the U of Utah in 2013 in the same role. I knew I wanted to stay in higher education, and a lot of people in leadership roles had master’s in education. However, I didn’t always know if I wanted to stay on a campus or then choose to work for the Board of Education, a superintendent, a county office, or even a school district. I chose the MPA because it gave me the ground work of anything in the public sphere, so I had options for careers afterwards but allowed me to take electives in Educational Leadership, Education Culture and Society, City and Metropolitan Planning, and Educational Psychology. Allowing myself to spin the public knowledge in a lot of different circumstances let me to see how the public domain touches almost everything in public education. Sometimes MPA holders don’t realize that public state funded education is one of the largest sectors of public admin and knowing HR, Law, and Admin Theory only benefits you in a role on a campus.
 
What advice would you give to incoming or current MPA students?
My advice is to get to know everyone in your classes and your professors. It may seem like a cliché but some of my professors were people who helped me discover what classes I should take and how to apply them to my career. You need to find an MRP adviser who goes beyond reading your paper and sending comments, so making sure you know the professors research or interests makes sure you have a great experience expanding your knowledge. Your classmates are even more of a resource than you can imagine, not only for study groups or even just someone to help take notes if you’re sick. This program will challenge you and making sure you have a group of friends to work with will only make it easier and more fun. Then you never know what can happen. The people I met in the MPA program have given me career advice, sent me links to conference proposals, watched my dog when I had to leave town, and even helped me decide what job to take upon graduation over champagne. The MPA program at the University of Utah is built so you can make sure it fits your career and professional interests. Because of this it draws so many people from different lives and perspectives. Utilize every moment.

Clayton

Meet Clayton Scrivner, an alumnus of the MPA program. The MPA program asked him a few questions about life after graduation: 

Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
I am the PR and Marketing Manager at Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.
 
What are some of the duties of your job?
SL County Parks and Recreation constructs, operates, and maintains over 107 parks, 22 recreation centers, urban and rural trails, and open space – as well as facilitates sports and other programing for Salt Lake County residents.
 
I oversee the organization’s website, manage media relations, and guide all marketing efforts for the agency. Right now, we are celebrating the connection of Parley’s Trail to Sugar House Park, I love working on projects that have a positive impact on our community.
 
What are some of your past careers, and how did your MPA lead to your new career?
I was the media manager at the Utah Office of Tourism for 10 years, worked at Salt Lake City Hall as the Civic Engagement Manager, and ran Ben McAdams’ successful re-election campaign in 2016. Getting an MPA was not only a great resume-builder, it made me a better public employee by giving me a more global understanding of governance.
 
What advice would you give to incoming or current MPA students?
Graduate school was my favorite educational undertaking, because of the camaraderie and collegiality of the cohort experience. Learn as much as you can from the unique experience and perspective of your peers.

Anna

Meet Anna Brower, an alumna of the MPA program. The MPA program asked her a few questions about life after graduation: 

Who is your current employer and what is your job title?

Voices for Utah Children, Senior Policy Analyst 

What are some of the duties of your job? 

As a Senior Policy Analyst, I will be responsible for conducting research and policy advocacy on a variety of issues that impact children in Utah, including early childhood education and quality childcare for working families. I will also be able to continue important work on juvenile justice reform, embarked upon in partnership with Voices for Utah Children during my time at the ACLU of Utah. As part of an informal coalition of community stakeholders, our organizations produced multiple reports and recommendations to influence the state’s official juvenile justice system reform efforts in 2016 and 2017. I look forward to monitoring the implementation of legislation passed during the 2017 legislative session, aimed at improving outcomes for kids and reducing racial disparities in Utah’s juvenile justice system. I’m also eager to take my experience advocating for reform in Utah’s public defender system for adults, and apply that to advocating for reform on the juvenile side of the public defender world.  

What are some of your past careers, and how did your MPA lead to your new career?

Since earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Denver approximately one million years ago, I have worked in a variety of capacities in the non-profit and public sectors. Usually, my professional contributions have included some blend communications, development and community outreach. When I began the MPA Executive program in 2012, I was the Development Director of the ACLU of Utah. I wasn’t in the program very long before I realize that I wanted to shift my professional focus to policy analysis and advocacy. I believe the realization crystalized right around the time I landed in Lina Svedin’s policy analysis class. I was hooked. I worked with my employer to shift out of my fundraising position and into a policy advocacy role, focusing exclusively on criminal justice reform. That year of policy advocacy work was the most fun I’ve had professionally in a long time! I continued with the ACLU of Utah for several more years, working on a blend of policy and communications work, until this amazing opportunity emerged to work with Voices for Utah Children. 

What advice would you give to incoming or current MPA students?

Don’t worry about grades. Study the things that interest you. Enjoy your fellow students. Talk often and respectfully to people who have different perspectives that yours. Group work can actually be amazing (but pick your group members wisely). 

Last Updated: 3/19/19