Alumni Spotlight: Madina P. Ouedraogo (MPA 2020)

Madina P. Ouedraogo

What motivated you to attend the Wagner School of Public Service and pursue its Master of Public Administration program?

I chose NYU Wagner because I wanted to attend a school that was rooted in public service. Wagner is not just a public policy school that offers a comprehensive curriculum; it is an environment that prepares students who aspire to become public servants and change agents to magnify our impact and go on to help foster meaningful change in the world. Being a Wagnerd allows you to be a part of a legacy much greater than yourself. I chose to pursue a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, because it is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares students and graduates to address the most complex issues within the world and to magnify our impact in order to create meaningful change.

Reflecting on your experience at Wagner, how did your program impact your understanding of advocacy and prepare you for the next steps in your career?

My experience at NYU Wagner helped me understand that while I may be invested or interested in particular topics or issues, in order to be a successful public servant, I must always remember how each and every aspect within the advocacy arena intersects and seek to foster change that is far reaching.

You serve as a Public Policy Fellow for Leadership Newark Inc., a nonprofit that connects civic leaders who will enhance the greater Newark region, what are your goals within the organization?

As a first-generation American child of Burkinabè, West African immigrants who was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, it has always been my goal to contribute back to the city that has given my family and I so much. My involvement in the Leadership Newark Public Policy Fellowship is further developing my professional skills through allowing me to identify and address the root causes of problems negatively impacting the greater Newark area in order to challenge the status quo and formulate solutions.

You recently entered a new role at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (congratulations!). What are some of your responsibilities and what motivated you to pursue this opportunity?

As the inaugural Government Affairs Manager at the Council on America-Islamic Relations, New Jersey Chapter (CAIR-NJ), I handle the policy, legislative, and advocacy portfolio. Through my role I engage lawmakers, advocate for policy changes on the state and federal levels, partake in coalition building and educate community members on the importance of civic engagement. As a staunch advocate for social justice and a proud Burkinabè – American, Black, Muslim woman, I wanted to utilize my skills and talents to serve my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters and progress our diverse and vibrant community with New Jersey forward. As America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New Jersey Chapter perfectly aligned with me personally, professionally, and socially.

Any advice for Wagner students interested in community activism and advocacy? 

In the words of the late and great Audre Lorde, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” In order to be a successful advocate and/or community activist you must always remember that when seeking to achieve equity and justice, it must always be done through an intersectional framework.