Search within:

Executive MPA graduate’s experience marked by accomplishments through transitions

Rebecca Harhai
April 14, 2021

Shannon Hamelund’s experience in the Executive Master of Public Administration program has been marked by change. In addition to unpredictable adjustments from the COVID-19 pandemic, she also experienced personal change – specifically, living in four different locations while completing her degree.

“As the spouse of an active-duty military service member, there has been a lot of transience in my life over the duration of the program,” Hamelund said.  “I applied for this program while living in D.C., flew to Ohio for residencies pre-pandemic, completed most of the program in lower Alabama, and am finishing it from Seoul, South Korea.”

Shannon was inspired to pursue a master’s degree by her experiences working with military organizations. Even before she married an active-duty service member, Shannon was interested in how government works and passionate about supporting military families.

She spent three years working in programs and volunteer management for the United Service Organizations (USO) in Germany and Washington D.C. For the past two years, while her husband underwent flight training at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Shannon worked as the district marketing coordinator for First Command, a financial planning company that works primarily with military service members and their families.

As an Athens native and Ohio University undergraduate alumnae, Shannon was aware of the fantastic education that the University could provide and the unwavering support from the professors and fellow students. That made the Master of Public Administration program at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs a natural choice.

The MPA program has given her insight into the reasons for creating policies and the decisions about implementing them. In addition, she has a better understanding of how to effect policy changes to support military organizations and service members and their families.

Shannon is thankful for fellow students who shared similar passions and praised the Voinovich professors who invested in her success. Despite the changes she went through during her experience, Shannon is thankful she took the leap of faith and has gained both professional and personal self-assurance.