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.

Christina Rogawski

MPA-PNP

2014
Digital Strategist, Knowledge Sharing Team
NYC Department of Education
Christina Rogawski

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I chose Wagner because of its diverse courses that balance theory with practice, its emphasis on building skills for solving real-world problems, and its deep connections to New York City. When I applied, I was interested in several different policy fields and was unsure of the exact career path I wanted to take, but I believed that Wagner could connect me to professors and opportunities that would help me explore my interests so I could shape my own journey. In particular, I wanted to build upon my background in digital media and technology and explore how those skills could be adapted to needs in the public sector.

How would you describe your experience as a Wagner student?

I was a full-time student that worked as a research assistant for a professor 10-20 hours a week depending on the semester / full-time over the summer. My experience was a mix of challenging quantitative classes, engaging theoretical and policy debates, and often complicated group projects, which provided me with a strong foundation so that I felt as though I could choose from a variety of professional roles after graduating.

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

Taking varied classes, from Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement to Participatory Policymaking and Intelligent Cities, helped me to develop tangible skills while enhancing my strategic and creative thinking. My current role equally requires hard skills, such as data analysis and project management, and soft skills, such as relationship building and problem-solving. I am constantly adapting to new challenges, but feel secure as I take them on because I can fall back on the strong foundation I built upon at Wagner. 

New York University's Advanced Management Program for Physicians

Kovner, AR and Rodwin, VG Read more
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