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Program News & Highlights



Kathy 6/4/18 - Kathy Abarca, a MPA/MSW student. The MPA program asked her a few questions about her experience:

What led you to an interest in the MPA and MSW programs?

I always had an interdisciplinary approach to my education. My goal is to comprehensively learn about social justice issues and about as many strategies and solutions as possible. My intention is to learn about policy analysis and nonprofit management while pursuing my MPA. I also hope to understand the needs of people and how to partner with and empower communities by pursuing my MSW. 

How is the joint MPA/MSW program advancing your education and career? What would you like to do after graduation?
The MPA and MSW program is teaching me to understand and confront social problems from the micro to the macro, across disciplines, and how to work with people from the “grassroots” to the “grasstops.” After graduation, I plan to use these skills as a policy director and as an executive director of a nonprofit. This joint program will prepare me to manage programs and organizations that in turn create policies and grassroots movements that improve the human condition, empower communities, are effective, and efficient.
What advice would you give to incoming or current MPA students who may be interested in a joint degree? 
If you’re not a planner you need to become a planner. There are so many opportunities for concentrations, internships, graduate assistantships, clinics, clubs, trips, and more. You might miss out on an opportunity if you don’t plan your program of study carefully. The possibilities are endless so keep an eye on your passions and your career path as you enter the program.

Abi Holt

4/22/17 - MPA alumna Abi Holt, head Nordic coach for the Utah Ski Team, helped lead the Utah Ski team to win its 11th NCAA Championship Title! Holt was also recently named the 2017 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Coach of the Year, as well as the U.S. Collegiate Ski Coaches Association National Coach of the Year!



4/5/17- Five students from the MPA and MPP programs recently attended the 2017 Utah City Management Association (UCMA) Spring Conference in St. George, UT.  Some are joined by BYU MPA students in the picture above.


3/30/17- The ICMA Student Chapter recently co-sponsored a Hinckley Forum entitled"How Do You Start A City?: The Opportunities and Challenges of Utah's Newest City, Millcreek".

The forum was honored to have Jeff Silvestrini, Mayor of Millcreek, and Bev Uipi, City Councilmember and U MPA alumna, as panelists. 

Watch a video of the forum here





1/17/17- Congratulations to MPA faculty Jesus Valero for winning the award for Best Conference Paper at the 2016 Daegu International Social Network Conference (DISC) in Daegu, South Korea!



 1/17/17- Congratulations to MPA faculty David Carter for receiving the 2017 ASPA Founders' Fellowship!




1/17/17- Congratulations to MPA adjunct faculty Paul Slack for receiving the 2016-17 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Social & Behavioral Science!



11/29/16- MPA alumna Bev Uipi recently won an election to represent District 4 on the Millcreek City Council. Millcreek will become a newly incorporated city in January 2017. Bev also serves as the Deputy Director of the Utah Board of Pardons & Paroles. For more information, go to


11/17/16- XMPA student Shawn Begay is the new Public Health Director for Utah Navajo Health Systems, Inc. Begay was recently featured in an article highlighting UNHS and its involvement with Family Spirit, a family health education program aimed at promoting optimal health and well being for parents and their children. 


11/11/16- Several MPA students had the exciting opportunity to spend 2016 fall break in Havana, Cuba as part of the "Cuba: Community, Complexity and Change" Learning Abroad program!

Watch this video highlighting the Learning Abroad program's journey.




11/7/16- MPA student Rees Davidson was recently a speaker at the UVU Latin America Symposium. Rees recently traveled to Cuba as part of a U learning abroad program, and was invited to the symposium to present his research on "Urban Agriculture and Sustainability in Cuba." 


MPA alumnus and Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg, was recently highlighted in a Fox13 News story after he was invited to a meeting on community policing at the White House. 


10/17/16- ASPA Utah Chapter- "Advising Our Nation's Leaders"

Recently, MPA students Sarah Balland,Rees Davidson, and Dinah Busico represented the MPA program at an ASPA Utah Chapter event, along with Dr. Steve Ott. ASPA is the American Society for Public Administration. 

The event, called "Advising Our Nation's Leaders", was held so that the national ASPA office could seek input from state chapters on the nation's most critical management and policy issues. Participants engaged with different-themed tables aimed at discussing such issues as water supply and affordable housing. 

9/19/16- MPA Program featured in Continuum


The MPA program was recently featured in an article from Continuum, the magazine of the University of Utah. Read the article here: "Cultivating Political Passion"

 8/30/2016- ASPA Utah Chapter Receives National Attention!


The ASPA Utah Chapter was recently highlighted in a national ASPA article for the chapter's 2016 Annual Awards Luncheon. 


8/24/2016- MPA student Todd Andersen recently completed an internship in the City Manager's Office of West Valley City. He had the opportunity to oversee the completion of a community mural project in a city park. Read more about the project under Internship Experiences.

 8/3/2016- Director pursues interdisciplinary research leadership in health policy and child maltreatment


Dr. Lina Svedin (College of Social and Behavioral Science, Political Science Dept. – Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy programs) has been awarded a 2016-2018 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant.

 Over the next three years she will train together with her team members, Kristine Campbell University of Utah School of Medicine, Dept. of Pediatrics –Div. of Child Protection and Family Health and Tonya Myrup Deputy Director for the Utah Div. of Child and Family Services, to become interdisciplinary research leaders. The fellowship is a new RWJF program that will involve Princeton and the University of Minnesota, and will allow the team to conduct a pilot version of a larger study that will be submitted to the same Foundation in 2018. Svedin, Campbell and Myrup are going to study state policy systems around children who have been reported as maltreated in the U.S. and study the effects of a new Utah law, which increases communication among policy system actors, on child health outcomes in maltreatment cases in Utah. 

 Kristine Campbell explains that “the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program we have proposed requires immediate immersion in a fully collaborative process, asking each team member to apply her individual expertise to tackle a problem that cannot be solved—or even described—by an individual academic or clinical discipline.” Campbell also explains that the team aims to “create a new path for the action-oriented, policy-relevant research needed to improve health-related outcomes for children involved with the child welfare system.”

 Svedin, Campbell and Myrup intend to present research findings as a team to policy, child welfare, and child health care audiences. 



Last Updated: 6/4/18