Student Spotlight

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This profile series takes a look at the change agents among us.  It has been designed to foster a greater understanding of the diverse profiles and experiences of your fellow students. Take a look below to learn more about your community.

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Monica Griffith

Monica Griffith

Hometown: East Bay, California

Degree Program: MPA, Public and Nonprofit Management

Specialization: International

Enrollment Status: Full-time

 

 

What is a helpful tip you’d share with someone starting their first day at Wagner?

Take advantage of the resources offered to you as an NYU Wagner student! Professor office hours, classmates, events/speakers (which often include snacks & drinks!), career services, discounted movie tickets, tutoring, access to millions of books/journals, student groups, etc., there are a ton of resources to take advantage of as a student that are as valuable as the classes.

What is something about your identity that has impacted the way you approach public service?

My mom taught me by example to defend the rights of those who can't defend themselves, and I think that's ultimately why I feel compelled to work in public service.

Who is your public service hero?

The Notorious R.B.G.

What is a recent issue in the public service arena that motivates you?

There are too many to list, these days! One that has become important to me since beginning work at NYU's Furman Center is the importance of affordable housing in urban areas, especially the location of affordable housing in relation to school quality and other neighborhood indicators such as crime rate.

What are your plans after Wagner?

I hope to work in the evaluation field to help create an evidence base for program and policy intervention and improvements.

Mery Arcila      Mery Arcila

         Hometown: Miami, Florida

         Degree Program: MPA, Public and Nonprofit Management

         Specialization: International

         Enrollment Status: Full-time

 

 

 

 

What is a helpful tip you’d share with someone starting their first day at Wagner?

Be open. Wagner will challenge you inside and outside of the classroom. In the classroom, teachers, readings and assignments will challenge you academically and in how you think about public service. Outside of the classroom, NYC pushes you to try new things and open your circle and understanding of the world. Additionally, your new friends and colleagues are passionate about a variety of public service issues. Approaching your experience at Wagner with an open heart and an open mind will make all the difference.

What is something about your identity that has impacted the way you approach public service?

Having immigrated to this country with my mother and being a first generation college student impacted me in numerous ways, but most importantly it shaped my perception of and passion for public service. It is impossible for me to see public service as simply an act of kindness or a pathway for equality, but rather a fervent duty to serve those who have left or lost everything behind to call this country home. Many of the topics we discuss in class I have had to experience them first hand. I want to be a public servant to positively impact our local communities but also to prove that no matter where you are from or the   challenges you face success is possible.

Who is your public service hero?

Out of the many Foreign Service Officers and public servants that I admire for their passion and  dedication to this country, two of my favorites are Samantha Power and Ruth Davis. Samantha Power  serves as the US Ambassador to the UN and has been resilient in her personal and professional standards.  She ardently fights for human rights and is not afraid to hold others accountable to standards of humanity and equality. Ruth Davis is a Career Ambassador who is a true trailblazer at State, opening paths for more diversity and opportunities for minorities. She promotes women’s economic empowerment and continues to be an influential mentor for many.

What is a recent issue in the public service arena that motivates you?

This past semester I learned about management, accountability and ethics in public service. It opened my  eyes to the immense work that still needs to be done to ensure that our institutions and policies are  aligned with good standards of ethics. I am motivated to continue learning about and applying different tools to make our policies more efficient and tangible as well as make public service easier rather than harder to manage. With the new administration, it is important to think about these issues and I hope to apply the skills I learn at Wagner and my personal ethics to ensure our country represents our citizens domestically and internationally in a fair way.

What are your plans after Wagner?

After Wagner I will be interning with the US State Department at an embassy abroad and then begin my  Foreign Service Training. Through the Thomas Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship I was fortunate to  receive, I will become a US Diplomat serving in the public diplomacy track. My internship abroad will  allow me to explore an area of the world I am interested in and learn more about Department of State.