Christian Gonzalez-Rivera

MUP

2012
Senior Researcher
Center for an Urban Future
Christian Gonzalez-Rivera

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I chose Wagner because it is one of the few schools of urban planning that is inside a policy school, and because it is a co-host of the prestigious Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. I was also attracted to Wagner because of stellar faculty whose work had helped me during my early career in policy.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

I grew tremendously as a professional during my time at Wagner. I came to Wagner knowing what I wanted: to build up my research skills in support of furthering my career as a policy researcher. At Wagner I found great professors who expanded my knowledge and deepened my commitment to the community of people who are working for the public service.

Describe your current job.

I am responsible for producing research reports, presenting research, and briefing policymakers on economic development and workforce development policy. Our research combines traditional policy analysis with investigative journalism to create approachable policy reports that present a compelling, fact-based narrative around issues that tend to fly under the radar of policymakers. Our work contributes to the public discourse through presentations to policymakers, advocacy groups, and the public, as well as testimony at city council and the state legislature. We also directly influence policy decisions through actionable and clear recommendations.

Mamta Prakash

EMPA

2015
Fiscal Management Associates
Mamta Prakash

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

It felt right from the moment I walked in to the info session - from Wagner's dedication to public service to the collegial vibes. My three main reasons for choosing Wagner were its dedicated and brilliant faculty, the flexibility to design my own list of courses from across NYU with few restrictions, and evening courses that enabled me to work full-time.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I have recently started as a Consultant at Fiscal Management Associates (FMA). I attended a Finance career panel (organized by Wagner’s Office of Career Services) where FMA was presenting and set up a follow-up meeting with the alumna panelist. Although that did not translate into an instant job - I am there now. Career Services was great at helping and directing me through thinking about resume and cover letter updates, how to dress for an interview, and what questions to expect.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

Wagner helped me think and grow intellectually in ways beyond nonprofit management. I learned what good leadership looks like, how to negotiate effectively and think strategically and collaboratively, and gained an understanding of my own leadership qualities.

Rachel Pardoe

MPA-Health

2013
Program Officer
New York Community Trust
Rachel Pardoe

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

Unlike other academic institutions, Wagner feels like a part of New York City. I liked that Wagner professors have jobs outside of teaching and the majority of students work; my classes felt collaborative instead of instructive. And because I myself was working, I was encouraged to apply my classwork to the “real world.” Wagner provided me a comprehensive education rather than just content knowledge.

Describe your current job. 

I work as a Program Officer at The New York Community Trust, a foundation that supports advocacy, direct services, and nonprofit innovation in New York City. I oversee our people with special needs and animal welfare programs, which grant about $2.3 million each year, and advise on evaluations. On a day-to-day basis, I review proposals, work closely with grantees, convene with other funders, and critically analyze our work.

What are the advantages of the Wagner alumni network?

I think Wagner alumni have a shared commitment to “do good” and I found that they are always willing to help fellow alumni. Which is in fact, very helpful, because the network is huge and tremendously successful. I have met Wagner alumni all over the country and no matter their background or profession, there’s a sense that we have a shared understanding of our role in the world.

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