Master Of Public Affairs (MPA)
Samuel Hunter is a first year MPA student with a concentration in Local Government Management. He researched MPA programs in the Triad area and thought UNCG was the best fit for me. He spoke with Dr. Bacot and alumni Lamar Lee (MPA’18) about the program and they provided some promising insight about the program and how it could benefit him in his career aspirations. .
Samuel works for the City of Winston-Salem as a City Planner. He chose the city/urban planning field because he wants to provide representation for minorities in areas in which they may be uninformed, specifically land use laws and development. He wants to be able to educate people on how zoning and development impacts their communities, suggesting that “everyone see’s big buildings and gentrification happening but it is deeper than that. The start-up process and input stages are very important, and a lot of people are uninformed or misinformed about their rights regarding land use regulation. One thing that I want to maintain is the equal opportunity for citizens to provide their public comment in development processes.”
“I am still new to the program but so far Dr. Bacot has been a great director and provides great leadership. The program provides us access to a lot of information and research that we have at our disposal. I look forward to completing of the program and being able to represent the program in the future.” Samuel’s plans for the future are to continue to work in government whether local, state, or federal. In all reality, he would like to work at all three levels to get a better understanding of each level and how each has different impacts for the public.
During his free time, he enjoys umpiring baseball and exercising. He is a big fan of all East Carolina University Athletics. When he isn’t doing something sports related, he enjoys spending time with his family.
Elena chose the UNCG MPA program because she wanted to go into a profession of helping others. Nonprofit work seemed to be where her mind was set, so she decided that pursuing a MPA degree would help with whatever she ends up doing. While in the MPA program she has received The May Davidson Scholarship and the MPA Next Generation Scholarship (Ruth DeHoog Scholarship). She also had the opportunity to attend the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits conference last year where she got to network with several nonprofit leaders and attended some valuable workshops. This summer she finished up her internship with the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization (NCNAYO) where she helped plan and implement their first-ever virtual conference. Her job was to create and manage social media posts and to work with the head of the parent committee as well as the students on the executive team. She also conducted surveys and a focus group to learn more about how NCNAYO affects the cultural knowledge of the students and how it motivates them to pursue higher education. Elena wishes to continue volunteering with NCNAYO and give her time and expertise to them. Beyond that, she will be looking for employment with a nonprofit organization in the Triad area. Elena’s future goal is to start her own nonprofit that helps and serves the American Indian population in the Triad. Elena, originally from Greensboro, graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with her Bachelor of Arts in Management and Society, and American Indian & Indigenous Studies.
Kayla chose UNCG’s MPA Program because it will mold her into a public servant and take her service deeper than just helping people, but helping people help themselves. The Nonprofit Concentration will expand her undergraduate knowledge and provide her with the “gap fillers” to start her own nonprofit. She enjoys the classes with her professors and peers, and every class she is reminded that she had made the correct decision about her future. Kayla is currently a full-time High Point University AmeriCorps VISTA at Northwood Elementary School and Communities in Schools of High Point. She aids in capacity building for both sites through implementing programs, creating curriculums, and advising students. Since September 2019, she has worked as a tour guide (docent) at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC. She had opportunities to work with the City of High Point’s Community Development and Housing Division and local nonprofits in High Point, focusing on food security and education. Her goal after receiving her degree is to open a nonprofit that focuses on improving the overall well-being of the African American community through education equity, food security programs, mental health initiatives, combatting homelessness, and advocating/lobbying for policies to alleviate systemic racism. She hopes to work in the nonprofit sector at a grassroots organization while in the process of starting her own. Kayla was born and still resides in High Point. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and double minored in African American Studies and Civic Responsibility & Social Innovation at High Point University.
Forrest White is a second-year student in the MPA program. Forrest was the recipient of the North Carolina City and County Management Association (NCCCMA) scholarship in 2019. He also served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the MPA program. Forrest decided to pursue an MPA after graduation as a full-time student, because he felt compelled to pursue a career in local government. Forrest recently interned at Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) as a Regional Economic and Workforce Development Marketing and Research Intern. Prior to this experience, he spent most of his working career in the furniture industry. Forrest’s goals after receiving his degree is to formulate well-rounded ideas that will provide meaningful solutions to diverse problems within the public or private sector. To achieve this, the local government concentration has prepared him to serve as a respected public official.
Forrest is a High Point native and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law from UNCG in the Spring of 2019.
Cierra Rowe, a second year MPA student, is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and an alumna of Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology. After returning home and working in her field, Cierra developed a passion for service as she volunteered with various organizations across the city to address social issues such as blight, hunger, and homelessness. Cierra decided UNCG’s MPA program would best equip her with the knowledge and skills to impact change within communities as it offered a concentration in Community and Economic Development, unlike others she researched. The program also provided financial assistance, as she received the May Davidson Scholarship.
Since relocating to Greensboro in 2017 and starting the MPA program, Cierra worked for the Greensboro Housing Authority in human resources for several months before taking a position as a Graduate Assistant in UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service-Learning. She is looking forward to obtaining a summer internship in housing or community development.
Lauren Forbis started the MPA program as a part-time student in January 2017 with a specialization in the Nonprofit Management Concentration. While earning her BA in Human Service Studies from Elon University, Lauren interned at a sexual assault center in Burlington. Through this internship, she found a passion for trauma and crisis work, while also realizing the need for collaborative and cooperative work among agencies. Since graduating from Elon in 2015, Lauren has worked at United Way of Alamance County and a United Way partner agency. She now is the Marketing & Communications Manager at United Way of Greater Greensboro, deepening her roots in the Gate City.
Lauren believes the MPA program will provide her with skills and knowledge to understand the challenges of advocacy and public policy work, specifically in her goal to alleviate poverty for women and children who have experienced trauma. “The Masters in Public Affairs degree is the ideal program for me because of its interdisciplinary approach. In looking to address decades of inequality, it is crucial to study from many different angles. The diverse course load will prepare me for a long career in many different roles,” she says.
Lamar Lee entered the MPA Program as a part-time student in the spring of 2015 in the Local Government Concentration. A native of Greensboro, Lee was a Watson Scholarship Recipient at Elon University where he earned a degree in Sport and Event Management in 2012. Originally he was interested in being a college athletic director but discovered his passion for parks and recreation after interning for Burlington Parks and Recreation as the Special Events Assistant. Lamar continued to work for the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department as a part-time staff member until graduation. Then he accepted a position in Howard County Recreation and Parks in Maryland as an Instructional Sports Coach and Community Facility Leader.
In 2013 Lamar returned to North Carolina to work for the City of High Point as a Marina Operator, later promoted to Parks Supervisor of Oak Hollow Park, which is comprised of a marina, campground, and 3 satellite parks rented for special events. “I chose the MPA program because it offers an opportunity to expand my knowledge of local government management while learning more about the non-profit sector. I enjoy transferring the knowledge I learn in class directly to my current position to enhance my job performance and supervisory skills. The MPA program is giving me a strong foundation to be successful in any aspect of Local Government I choose to pursue in the future.” He plans to graduate in December 2017.