MPA degree opens doors to career options, professional development for new grad

Austin Ambrose
May 27, 2017

Roberts, SteviAmerica’s Essential Hospitals will take on a valuable intern this summer. Evi Roberts, a second-year master of public administration (MPA) student at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, will be joining the organization in Washington, D.C. for eight weeks. 

The industry trade group represents 275 hospitals to support advocacy, policy development, research and education. Roberts will conduct research evaluation work with their executive women’s leadership academy.

Roberts's internship stipend is provided by the Marty Wall, Washington, DC Area Internship in Association Management. Each year, this internship stipend is awarded to one Voinovich School student who has an internship with a nonprofit association in the D.C. area. According to Roberts, this is just one example of how doors have opened for her because of her involvement with the Voinovich School MPA program and her dedication to her work.

“I’ve always looked for a graduate program or a career that would be this trifecta of criteria: It needed to be professionally rewarding, financially sustainable and personally fulfilling,” Roberts said. “I discovered that public service really meets that criteria and the MPA degree is the best pathway to help me realize my potential in being an effective public servant.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from The Ohio State University in 2012, Roberts was unsure exactly what she wanted to pursue. She eventually moved to the Athens area and began working in substance abuse counseling.

“I discovered the MPA program and it just described everything that I never knew I wanted to do,” Roberts said.

Since then, Roberts has focused a majority of her work on evaluation and leadership experiences. In 2016, she interned with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) in the Office of Prevention and Wellness. She coordinated communication between Ohio University and OhioMHAS staff and assisted in planning the annual Ohio Promoting Wellness and Recovery conference at the Ohio University campus.

In addition to her internship and research experiences, Roberts currently works with some of the Voinovich School’s Undergraduate Research Scholars. The program encourages undergraduate research and supports research efforts of the School’s faculty and professional staff. Launched in 1995, URS is open to Honors Tutorial College and departmental honors students. Roberts meets with the scholars on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to mentor them.

Roberts appreciates the opportunities the Voinovich School has provided her with. She has attended almost every professional development seminar the school’s MPA program has hosted, from the Student Senate Alumni Society advocacy events in Columbus to the women’s leadership sessions. She believes these events are opportunities both to network and expose herself to environments that will help her determine her next steps after graduation.

“I feel confident that I have the tools necessary to get a job that will allow me to be an effective advocate for prevention of behavioral health issues in the state of Ohio,” she said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and I didn’t know how to do that. But the Voinovich School has truly prepared me for a successful career.”