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Graduate Assistantships

The MPA program usually accepts applications for graduate assistantships near the end of each spring semester. Applications in the spring semester apply to graduate assistantships for the following academic year (ex: An application turned in during the Spring 2017 semester would be for a graduate assistantship in the upcoming Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters)


 First Step House                              

"The University of Utah’s MPA Graduate Assistantship program has definitely been a win-win experience! Our graduate assistant has brought fresh, new ideas to our development department and our organization. She has contributed significantly to presentation design, grant research, proposal writing, budgeting, and donor communications.  Through the process of providing on-the-job training, we have been able to identify areas that require additional resources as well as opportunities to capitalize on our strengths. Together, we have worked to address both of these areas, drawing on our MPA graduate assistant’s skills and education and coupling that with the experience of our staff to make informed decisions. We have grown individually, within our department, and as an organization as a result of the MPA Graduate Assistantship program.  I would HIGHLY recommend this program!

                                                                                                                                           -Sarah Bauman, Development Director at First Step House



Meet Sarah Vaughn, an MPA student who worked as a graduate assistant for a local nonprofit organization during the 2015-16 academic year. The MPA program asked her a few questions about her experience:

Where are you doing your graduate assistantship and what does the organization do?   I am doing my graduate assistantship at First Step House. First Step House is a substance abuse disorder treatment center. They offer a range of services including residential treatment, outpatient treatment, long-term recovery management, transitional housing, case management, and evidence-based therapies. 

What are your duties with the organization?  I worked directly with the Director of Development and help with day-to-day operations. I assist in writing grants and proposals. Furthermore, I research potential donors and foundations that would be interested in funding our program.        

How has your assistantship helped you with your academic/career goals?  Before starting my assistantship, I had a vague idea of how the nonprofit sector worked. After engaging with the executive staff, I have gained so much knowledge of the nonprofit sector and how First Step House accomplishes their goals and plans. By working directly with the Development Director, I have learned so much about how to build relationships with foundations and corporations. Thus, in my nonprofit courses everything becomes much simpler, it becomes a matter of understanding rather than memorizing. Moreover, doing this assistantship gave me the opportunity to network and learn from an amazing team (First Step House). 


For more information about First Step House, visit:

The MPA Program issued an RFP for graduate assistant placement for the 2015-16 year, and First Step House was awarded this graduate assistantship.  The two entities are co-funding the placement in an effort to jointly increase agency capacity and student experience.


Last Updated: 3/2/17