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Student Spotlight: Jess Rist

Jess Rist

Introduce Yourself 

I am Jess Rist. I grew up in Twinsburg, Ohio, and currently live in Kent, Ohio where I went to undergrad at Kent State University.   

I am the Chief Development and Communications Officer for IBH Addiction Recovery, an addiction treatment provider in Summit County. We provide a continuum of care for those seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, including those with a co-occurring mental health disorder.   

Why did you choose the Voinovich School's MPA program?   

I chose the Executive Master of Public Administration program at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service because of the flexibility of the program. I enjoy the classroom atmosphere but also like the flexibility of online learning.  This program combines the best of both worlds and allows busy professionals the opportunity to earn their degree through both online and in-person classes.   

Tell us a little about your area of research or project work you have conducted in your program and what you have learned

We recently completed an evaluation project and had the opportunity to evaluate any program or policy of our choosing. I chose to evaluate transgender participation and engagement in our residential addiction treatment program. This provided me the opportunity to apply what I was learning in my coursework to real-life work in my career.   

What is the best leadership advice you have been given?   

Leave people better than you found them.   

What do you like most about your program? 

My favorite part of the program is how expertly crafted the courses and schedule are. Each semester is designed where the courses play off each other and build off the previous semester.  

What are your future career goals?   

My career goal is to serve as the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization in my community. I’d also like to work on my PhD in Public Policy and Management with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.