Liliana Sanchez Montenegro
MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy - 2018
Why did you choose NYU Wagner for graduate school?
I choose NYU Wagner because the school combines policy and nonprofit management, a rare combination in MPA programs. When I read about Wagner’s curriculum, I knew it was what I needed. Through my previous work experience working for pre-trial detainees, I realized that it is important to have comprehensive laws, but these laws cannot be well implemented without effective policies. I wanted to strengthen my legal background with an understanding of policy development. My experience as the founder and director of Accion AENU brought a new desire to grow my managerial skills. I realized that I enjoy working with teams to create change, and Wagner had the Nonprofit Management specialization. Wagner was the program that gave me the opportunity to combine both policy and nonprofit management.
Can you tell us a bit about your job responsibilities?
I am currently the Policy Associate of the Division of Youth and Family Justice at the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). I am responsible for the policy and procedure development for the Detention and Close to Home Facilities (CTH) of NYC. The policy and procedure development process consists in the drafting of new policies, review of State regulations, engagement of external and internal stakeholders to secure buy-in for policy development, and review of feedback to improve conditions of care for justice-involved youth.
How did your experiences at NYU Wagner prepare you for your career?
Wagner introduced me to courses that provided me with a great understanding about putting the needs of the beneficiaries before our own ideals when striving for change. This simple concept can really boost the way we create policies. I was able to implement design thinking in policy development at ACS through listening to the youth’s needs before drafting new policies. Furthermore, NYU Wagner allowed me to keep developing my leadership skills. I was able to direct the Wagner International Student Society (WISS), which was a great opportunity to work collaboratively with classmates and Wagner staff. Also important was the help of professors. I will never forget how Professor Gordon Campbell guided me to learn more about the different youth justice organizations in NYC; our conversation led to my internship and current employment at the Administration for Children’s Services.