Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?
I wanted to find an urban planning school that connected planning to policy and to real people. I received traditional urban planning training, as well as non-traditional hands-on training in financial markets and analysis and program and policy evaluation. This is distinguished from other schools that have a heavier focus on design or theory. When I graduated, I felt prepared with the skills I needed to hit the ground running.
Wagner gave me different “tools” for the job. I have the technical skills to review a financing pro forma, the theoretical skills to talk housing and economic policy, and the professional skills to write briefing papers, manage projects, and influence change.
How did you find your first post-Wagner job?
After graduation, I started as a Presidential Management Fellow in the federal government. I first heard about the fellowship through Wagner’s Office of Career Services, who arranged a prep session for all the semi-finalists with a Wagner alumna who was already a fellow. After becoming a finalist, my advisor Prof. Ingrid Ellen, connected me to other Wagner alum working for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Describe your current job.
I am a program analyst for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development in the Public and Indian Housing program office. Public housing oversees both traditional public housing serving approximately 1.2 million households and housing choice voucher assistance serving approximately 2.4 million households across the country. Right now, my focus is on establishing policies and internal procedures related to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which allows public housing agencies to recapitalize and improve their properties with private financing; and on ensuring environmental review compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act.