• MPA Students Help Drive Changes in State Government

6/12/2012

This spring, four Suffolk MPA students brought their education to the State House. They worked on the same floor as the Governor, had their own State House email addresses and ID badges, and were on the front line of a sweeping statewide performance management initiative issued by Governor Patrick.

Anna Freedman ’12, Kathryn Gabriele ’12, Jenny Joseph-Hayle, and Sean O’Brien were among the first group of graduate fellows hired by the Collins Center for Performance Management, a program at the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Sandy Blanchette, education program developer at the Collins Center, selected the students based on their commitment to public service and desire to work in, and learn about, state government. The fellows worked with Collins Center mentors, took a training program in performance management, and were assigned to an executive office to work on one of the Governor’s four strategic priorities: job creation, reducing youth violence, healthcare cost containment, and closing the achievement gap in education.

“The fellowship exposes students to the highest level of state government and gives them an opportunity to help design programs and data collection models for the state agencies,” says Blanchette.

Sean O’Brien, assigned to the Executive Office of Administration, conducts research and meets with his mentor and agency heads to develop strategic plans that lead to goal-driven agencies. Jenny Joseph-Hayle works with the Health Care Cost Containment Team on the Administration’s goal to make health care costs less of a burden on the budget. A former teacher, Kathryn Gabriele ’12 requested a placement with the Executive Office of Education. There, she contributed her classroom experience perspective to help develop measures that track progress toward the Governor’s goals in education, such as closing the achievement gap. Anna Freedman ’12 was placed in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, where she had previously interned.

“This opportunity at the Collins Center offers real-world connections,” says Richard Beinecke, chair of Public Administration and associate professor of Public and Health Administration at Suffolk. These connections can be instrumental in opening the door to a new career. After graduating, Gabriele was hired as a policy analyst for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Her Collins Center fellowship exposed her to many of the policies she works with in her new position. Freedman was also hired upon graduating and serves as a fiscal policy analyst by the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, where she worked as a Collins Fellow and as an intern.

“As a program we do our best to look for opportunities for students,” says Beinecke, “and this is a good example of how Suffolk can reach out and collaborate with other universities to provide the best experience for our students.”

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