The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
I have used class assignments to find out more about issues on several occasions. I wrote a paper on small business assistance that prompted a research center to apply for a grant to study the same issue -- they received the grant, and I ended up with a full-time, summer research position and the opportunity to co-author the study.
My goals have become more clear and tangible. I have done a lot of self discovery of my talents and limitations.
Reading daily, weekly, monthly publications/ newspapers/ journals is extremely important in my field. I have to stay current on what are the important topics that are affecting the mental health research field in order to inform my own research.
Because of my interest in NYC issues, I read the Gotham Gazette almost every day. It provides a good summary of city issues and politics. It has led to useful academic sources of information and has also proved useful in interviews.
It was crucial for me to get an internship my first year because I had zero public sector experience. I worked very hard to get an internship at NYC Office of Management and Budget, and partly got it because I was willing to work unpaid. I then worked at CHPSR my second year in a research function, which was huge for me.
I find working full-time while going to school part-time creates a good system of checks and balances in terms of how things work in the 'real' world, and it provides an opportunity to bring new skills from the classroom to my job.
My internships looked good on my resume, as they showed that I was eager to make a career change and that I wasn't wasting any time.
Serving on the WSA executive board has provided an invaluable learning opportunity with regard to understanding how high-functioning groups operate, how to be a leader and a follower, and how to translate student complaints into concrete suggestions for enhancing the Wagner program.
I have been volunteering to do taxes for low-income people for a few years, before I developed an interest in finance. That work helped demonstrate my ability to work with numbers. The Earned Income Tax Credit is popular right now, and I have applied for some advocacy positions or city positions dealing with tax policy, so the volunteer work has been helpful.
Being Co-Chair of Wagner Environmental Policy & Action (WEPA) was really a great experience to work with other students, faculty and experts who were passionate about similar issues. I not only felt like my efforts were worthwhile in bringing important issues to light for students at Wagner, but also provided a great personal learning experience.