Leda Bloomfield

MUP

2014
Program Analyst
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Leda Bloomfield

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.

Carmen Montes de Oca

MPA-PNP

2011
Academic Department Manager, Department of Finance and Risk Engineering
NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Carmen Montes de Oca

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school? 

I chose NYU Wagner for the robustness of its academic program and the diversity of courses offered, which are taught by faculty with extensive experience in their field who bring perspective and real-life examples to the classroom – thus bridging theory and practice. 

How did you find your first post-Wagner job? 

I obtained my first post-Wagner job by directly applying to positions in NYC government. NYU Wagner’s highly-respected MPA program greatly enhanced my credentials and I was able to take the next big leap in my career by becoming Budget Director for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

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

NYU Wagner greatly enhanced my analytical and managerial skills, and provided me with the foundational knowledge and the practical know-how – both of which have served me well throughout my professional journey. 

Fernando Henao

MPA-PNP

2010
Country Director
Grameen Foundation
Fernando Henao

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WAGNER FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL?

I was looking for a graduate school that provided me with skills, tools and connections in order to continue my career working in the government, especially in areas related to rural development. Wagner offered a variety of public policy and international angles that impressed me.  

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WAGNER STUDENT?

It was a unique experience. I had the privilege of sharing it with incredibly talented students from different countries and very experienced faculty who were so generous and passionate in analyzing and looking for solutions to some of the world´s most pressing problems.

DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT JOB.

I am Colombia's Country Director at Grameen Foundation. I am responsible for programs that deal with access to knowledge, connection to markets and financial inclusion for the poorest populations in Colombia.

Jinny Jeong

MPA-PNP

2014
Evaluation and Data Insights, Senior Associate
CECP
Jinny Jeong

HOW DID YOUR WAGNER EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU PROFESSIONALLY FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING TODAY?

One of the reasons I decided to go to graduate school was to pivot my career into the quantitative field. Wagner affirmatively provided me the opportunities and experience for this career change. Leveraging my pre-grad school professional experience, with my newly learned quantitative skills from Wagner, I was fortunate to have received a coveted internship focusing on cities, sustainability, and measurement, with The Clinton Foundation. This then helped set the stage of relevant experience and skills for my next internship at CECP, which led to my current full-time position and role. 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WAGNER FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL?

I chose Wagner for the location, and because the required courses offered a good balance between quantitative work and qualitative work. Wagner understands that balancing these skills needs to happen when you enter the field of public service. My final decision came down to the atmosphere and messaging at Wagner – at Admitted Students Day, the message was all about inclusivity and community from the entire Wagner community-- the dean, faculty, alumni and current students. 

DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT JOB.

I work for CECP (formerly, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy), a coalition of corporations and their CEOs who opt in to our network to leverage the role of corporations as a force for good in society. As Senior Associate (Data Insights), I translate quantitative data into actionable insights that corporate social responsibility professionals can use in their respective jobs and corporate strategies. I also lead the outreach and data collection effort for CECP's largest, and 15-year industry leading research called "Giving in Numbers. "

Neil Reilly

MPA-PNP

2013
Senior Policy Analyst
Citizens Housing & Planning Council
Neil Reilly

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WAGNER FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL?

I chose Wagner for several reasons. The primary reason was that I was interested in getting a post-graduation job in which I could work on some urban social issues, and staying home in NYC was the perfect opportunity for that. Other things I considered were the fact that the local government is swarming with Wagner alumni; and the fact that I felt I could get the type of job I was looking for with either an MPA or a law degree, so the appeal of being done in one fewer year was strong.

HOW DID YOUR WAGNER EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU PROFESSIONALLY FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING TODAY?

The primary preparation was the quantitative training I got in the MPA policy analysis curriculum. I wanted to gain data skills to pair with my writing ability, and that's exactly what those quantitative courses gave me. On a more general note, the exposure that Wagner offers its students to the work that is actually happening in and around New York City government is an accurate glimpse into the policymaking process.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF THE WAGNER ALUMNI NETWORK?

As I mentioned, Wagner alums are everywhere in NYC. I know I can reach out to my past professors as sounding boards. It's important that the reputation of the training Wagner gives its policy analysts is solid.

Owen Stone

EMPA

2015
Senior Associate, Public Sector Innovation
Living Cities
Owen Stone

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I had a lot of experience in one facet of my career, but I was looking for a program that would help build my skill sets, establish me as a well-rounded professional, and differentiate me from other job candidates. I chose Wagner because it is one of the best MPA programs in the nation, and it is located right in the heart of New York City. 

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere... but why would you want to? New York is tough, but it has more opportunities - and more diverse opportunities - than anywhere in the country. You can be in New York and work with City, State, Federal and International governments; we have world-class health and research institutions, as well as the thriving finance, culture, and social sectors. 

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

I work in the Public Sector Innovation field, which, among other things, requires an understanding of how cities work, how policies are formed and implemented, and how to leverage collective impact models. My public sector finance courses underpinned my policy courses, which, when paired with my prior work experience, allowed me to be a credible asset for nearly 20 cities in the US and Israel that are pushing the boundaries of how municipal governments are attacking our societies' most pressing problems. 

What are the advantages of the Wagner alumni network?

Wagner's alumni network can be found in every sector of the city and beyond. They are a great critical friend and resource for those trying to build their professional careers in the government, social, and public finance sectors.

Rashi Kumar

MUP

2011
Senior Program Manager, Clinical Partnerships
Healthfirst
Rashi Kumar

How did being in New York impact your professional journey? 

As a result of a plethora of opportunities in NYC, I was able to intern from the beginning of my time at Wagner. Interning helped me to understand quickly how areas of academic interest relate to job opportunities. As a result, I did shift my focus from traditional urban planning to urban policy early on.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job? 

One of my internships during my time at Wagner was at the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity; back in 2010, it was a small center for antipoverty program development and evaluation in the mayor’s office. Through this internship I met many leaders at various NYC agencies and nonprofits. As I closed in on graduation day, I followed up with an impressive leader I met at the Department of Small Business Services. Someone had just left her team, and I was quickly asked to come in for an interview.

Describe your current job.

I work for Healthfirst, a NYC-based not-for-profit health insurance company with almost 1.2 million members in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester. I oversee a portfolio of projects related to healthcare delivery system innovation. This entails conducting research, designing and conducting analyses, creating and implementing work plans, monitoring progress, supervising staff, and regularly presenting to a large range of audiences.

 

Heather Diaz-Tran

MUP

2011
Acting Manager of Project Controls Operations
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Heather Diaz-Tran

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I chose Wagner because of its location. I wanted to learn, live, and breathe transportation both in my professional and personal day-to-day experiences.  

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

Everyone in NYC has an opinion that wants to be heard. Therefore going to school and working in such a global city has given me a broad perspective of opinions from classmates and colleagues to constituents served. Learning to listen to and respect opinions that are different than my own has served me well in my professional life. 

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I attended the summer internship orientation at NYC Department of Transportation and one of the speakers was a Wagner Alumnus. I reached out for an informational interview, and he passed along my resume to one of his former colleagues. If it weren't for the Wagner connection, I definitely would not have reached out, and would not have landed that first job which led me to where my career has taken me today.

Subscribe to