University of Missouri-St. Louis
Welcome to our new and returning students! Picture above: New MPPA students pause for a photo during our new student orientation this week. We look forward to a great academic year!
Dan Sise photo

The PPA Program:
A Parent's Perspective

By Dan Sise
I’ve been directing the PPA Program for a year now. Over the course of that year, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for just how good our program really is. Yes, obviously, I’m biased. But objectively, there is much to be proud of. We have fantastic alumni doing important work in every sector of our community. From for-profit, to non-profit, to government – our alums are succeeding in not only advancing their own careers, but also in advancing the missions and goals of every kind of business, nonprofit, and branch of the government in our region and beyond. The PPA Program also continues to offer high-quality education to our existing students in not only our degree programs, but in a wide range of non-credit, professional development formats that add to the continuing education of our community and its leaders.
Added to all of this, I now also have a new perspective on, and appreciation for, just how affordable, and valuable, the PPA Program remains. I have a daughter who will be a senior in high school starting this fall. We’ve begun taking trips to visit various colleges, and to dive into learning more about what she wants to study. As I take these trips, and think about the cost of various schools and degree programs, I’m struck over and over again by the tremendous value of our program – both in terms of cost, and in the quality education we provide. Just as an example, the average student can get the MPPA degree for under $20,000. That’s not $20,000 per year – that’s $20,000 total. If you measure that cost against other graduate degree programs, you can’t help but realize the financial benefit of pursuing our degree. You get to avoid the crushing debt that comes with so many other degree programs. You get to join an alumni network that weaves through every aspect of our community, and that includes many of the leaders in our region. And you get to develop skills that prepare you to become a leader yourself – all for a cost that is, in many cases, less than the cost of one year’s tuition for many other institutions and degree programs in our region. Talk about value!

I hope you will all continue to support the MPPA program so we can continue to provide our training, opportunities, and incredible value to existing and future students. And thank you for all that you already do. 
Dan Sise
Interim Director
Public Policy Administration

Graduation Reception 2018

Photo above: MPPA Spring 2018 graduates (from left) Stephanie Co, Travis Wood, and Jenn Nadler pose for a photo during our PPA Graduation Reception! 

Scholarship recipient wrap-up

A few Public Policy Administration students received academic fellowships this year that will help them with tuition costs.

NPML and MSW student Caitlin Bright was the 2018-19 recipient of the John McClusky Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship honors McClusky, the NPML program’s founder. “Being awarded the McClusky Scholarship is a great honor and privilege. I am excited to learn what opportunities a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership will bring, and eager to see where my educational and professional journey will lead me,” Bright said. “My long-term plan is to start my own nonprofit organization in or near my hometown of Washington, Mo. I know that the skills and knowledge I acquire through this program will further my goals, and hopefully do some good in the world as well.”

This spring two recipients were chosen to receive the Robert J. Baer Endowed Fellowship in Public Policy Administration. The scholarship honors Robert Baer, who was a civic and business leader.

MPPA and PPE student Paul Hess was one of the fellowship recipients. “I appreciate being given this award because I am inspired by Mr. Baer's service to the St. Louis region,” Hess said. “That my mentors at the MPPA program consider me worthy of this award is even more satisfying.  This award allows me to continue pushing myself in this great program. I hope to live up to the award's namesake throughout my own career.”

MPPA student Ramona Marshall received the Baer fellowship as well. "I am deeply honored to receive the fellowship and extremely grateful to the teachers who believed my hard work and dedication to my studies merited recognition,” she said. “This fellowship will not only provide financial support but also help me pursue a rewarding career in public service.”

MPPA and NPML student Amber Holt was awarded a Graduate School Minority Recruiting Fellowship. “I am beyond grateful to have earned the graduate school recruitment fellowship,” she said. “I am a strong believer that education is essential to growth and opportunities and through education and my faith, I know that I will have limitless options. By receiving this award, I have been granted the option to attend school at a much lower cost. Graduate school is expensive as we all know and the fellowship made a significant impact on me prospering as a student. To explain, because I don't have to worry about finding as much funds to pay for school, I can focus on preparing for classes without stress. I'd like to personally thank Daniel Sise, Jeri Albl and Gina Parsons for helping me significantly in this process.”

Donations for the McClusky scholarship are still needed. To donate, click here. 

To D.C. and Back: My Internship Experience

By Liz Deichmann
  I’m a student in the MPPA program, and also working toward the NPML and PPE Graduate Certificates. This past summer, my interest in research and policy and passion for the arts led me to work as the Research Intern at Americans for the Arts (AFTA), an arts policy and advocacy nonprofit, in Washington, D.C. 
  My journey to D.C. started with an internship hunt in the spring. I began my search with what I knew: I really wanted to intern at an arts nonprofit and do evaluation, research or policy work. At first, I was only considering local or regional organizations, but eventually I expanded my search given my specialized interest. Applying to AFTA’s internship was probably the most intimidating—I’ve cited their research in so many of my own papers. Plus, it’s a nationally recognized organization, and I knew the program would be competitive. I wasn’t very confident about my chances of being hired. A couple of weeks later, I was surprised to get an invitation to interview and eventually was offered the position. What I learned through my internship process was:
  Start with what you need. Do you need a paid internship? Part-time? What do you want to get out of it? Don’t be afraid to apply for highly competitive programs/positions. 
Start your search early. I felt like my favorite internships had application deadlines from January - March. 
Put it on your calendar. I put all internship deadlines on my calendar so I could plan and make sure to get my application in on time. 
  AFTA's internship program has been an invaluable and insightful experience. It’s given me the opportunity to meet and work with arts policy thought leaders and change makers, deepen my knowledge of arts nonprofits, and get hands-on experience working in my chosen field. One of the most important program components was informational interviews. As interns, we were encouraged to reach out both internally and externally of the organization to meet with professionals in our areas of interest, which I did with lots of help from Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research & Policy. These were some of the most exciting conversations and connections I made and I highly recommend making sure they're a part of every intern’s experience. 
  One of the most interesting parts of my internship was working on a joint project for the Arts Action Fund, AFTA’s 501(c)4 and the foremost national arts advocacy organization in the country. For the upcoming Senate elections, another intern and I created candidate and state arts impact memos, which will be publicly available as advocacy tools and voter resources. The memos include candidates’ personal arts backgrounds, voting records, caucus memberships, state and local economic impact data, public opinion points about the arts and so much more.
  Perhaps the hardest part of the internship was relocating temporarily to a new city. It took a lot of time and energy to find a place to stay (there are so many other interns also looking for summer housing in DC!). Thankfully, I have several friends who lived or currently live in D.C. who suggested housing resources and even neighborhoods. I urge anyone in the same position to search early and get resourceful: find housing/subletting listserves, reach out to friends or interns in the same program, and consider dorms and AirBnB, etc. 
  My other piece of advice for temporarily living in a different city is to get out and see as much as you can. I spent a lot of my summer working (I had a couple of other jobs as well) and wish I would have had more time to see D.C. With the time I did have to see D.C, I was a little surprised to find out how much I liked the city and people.
I’ll definitely be back.

Do you want to change the world?

Are you interested in pursuing a Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) at UM-St. Louis? Applications are being accepted for the Spring 2019 semester, which begins Jan. 22. Don't let more time pass before you begin investing in yourself. Click here to learn more, and to apply!   

Honoring staff
PPA Interim Director Dan Sise recently presented PPA Business Administrator Jeri Albl with a certificate and a gift card, for her 20 years of service to UMSL. 
Alumni Spotlight:  Q and A with Amie Bossi - MPPA and NPML 2005 graduate
Amie Bossi
Where are you currently working, and what do you do there?
I am currently a freelance consultant working with local nonprofits. I help them with everything from reorganizing and restructuring, marketing, development, program evaluation and assistance, and leadership. I also became a CFRE - Certified Fundraising Executive - in 2015 so my specialty lies in that field. My typical day finds me doing anything from writing grants, to assisting with an organization's event, creating a marketing plan, drafting a case statement, conversing with a client about next steps, meeting with a potential new client, or walking a board member through a project. It's all so different and I love it all!

What do you like most about your current position?
I love the fact that my schedule is flexible and I get to work from home a lot! Actually, I'm most excited that I get to work with many different nonprofits and help them achieve their missions. I get to align with organizations whose missions I really admire and care about, such as those who promote social justice, those who work with individuals with disabilities, to name a few. Being able to help organizations take a look at what's not working and fix it, or be a resource so they can focus on true mission work is so rewarding. I chose to do consulting after I left my former position. I dabbled in it before and realized that it suited my lifestyle and passion more than working full time for one organization. 

How did the UMSL MPPA help prepare you for your current role, and for upcoming positions?
The program exposed me to both academic background and hands-on experiences. I use information from my budgeting class, and I always think about how I can do a cost benefit analysis for programs in organizations thanks to my policy classes. I cannot stress the networking aspect of being part of the program enough! I am still benefiting from that!

Do you remember any particular lesson(s) an instructor taught that are still helpful today?
I remember Dr. (Deborah) Balser very well. Her class was hard but I learned a lot about organizational structure. Also, Gerald Blasi, my Cases in Public Policy Ananlysis instructor. That semester my brother died and Blasi was so great. He really helped me out when I needed a little extra time and attention to get through the semester. He did give me a tough time when I orally defended my exit project, through! But it was tough love and I got through it. I really enjoyed all my professors and classes. 

Anything else that you’d like to add?
I am currently working with Cate Redfern, owner of Adansonia Consulting on a project. The reason she asked me to work with her is because of my MPPA degree! I'm really happy I chose UMSL. I met someone in one of my NPML classes that led to an internship, which led to a job that I was with for nine years before I was recruited to another position.

Amie will lead a round table discussion on building and maintaining a culture of philanthropy throughout your organization at the AFP St. Louis chapter's Gateway Conference on Philanthropy Aug. 29. Click here for more info or to register for the conference! 

Student and Alumni news

MPPA and NPML 2008 graduate Pearlina Boyd, J.D., graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La. in May of 2017. She relocated home to St. Louis, and was recently elected to serve as Secretary of the Board for the Minorities in Legal Profession Section of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

NPML 2009 graduate Marci Mayer Eisen, MSW, ACC, is the Director of the Millstone Institute at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and has joined the Board of the St. Louis Chapter of International Coach Federation (ICF).
MPPA and NPML 2008 graduate Emily Fishman was hired as the Employee Engagement Manager with U.S. Bank. Part of her role there is to help facilitate employee volunteering/donation initiatives.

MPPA and LGM 2012 graduate Colleen Kirby Hafner left the St. Louis Equity Fund after 11 years and began working as the Project Manager at Rise Community Development. “I’ll also be working to help launch their newly-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI),” she said. “I’m so excited about this next step in my career, and will be able to continue working closely with all my great UMSL colleagues at CBN, etc.”

MPPA and NPML student Amber Holt started work as a Financial Aid Coordinator at UM-St. Louis.

MPPA and NPML student Beth Jantz was promoted in April from grant writer to major gifts officer at Paraquad.

MPPA and LGM 2013 graduate Leonard Johnson was selected in April for the position of Director of Neighborhood Business Development at St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). Johnson joined SLDC after spending the last five years in the position of Deputy Chief of Staff and Parking Programs Coordinator for the Treasurer’s Office in the City of St. Louis.

NPML 2009 graduate Vito Lucido is the President of the Missouri Disabled Water Ski Association. The nonprofit works to improve the lives of children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities, visual impairments, and special needs by involvement in adaptive water skiing. For more information about the organization, visit:

MPPA and NPML 2017 graduate Angela Moore was promoted at the Missouri Historical Society to Facilities & Sustainability Coordinator. She was selected to serve on two boards: USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Board and American Alliance of Museums Professional Network, Environment and Climate Communications Committee, she serves as the Chair of the Communications Committee. In 2018, she aided the Missouri History Museum to win an award from the American Alliance of Museums. The Missouri History Museum was awarded the Sustainability Excellence Award within the Facilities Category for Large Museums for 2018 for the organizations energy conservation efforts. In 2017, she also aided the Missouri History Museum in winning the top category for St. Louis Green Business Challenge. In 2018, she received a professional certification as a LEED Green Associate. “The program has really helped me to succeed in a short amount of time after graduation,” she said.

NPML 2013 graduate Mike Philbin was hired in November 2017 as Director of Residential Services for Caritas Family Solutions in Belleville, Ill. There, he administers a residential treatment program for youth with trauma histories and behavioral health treatment needs who are in Illinois foster care. In July, Caritas became the first Illinois DCFS contractor “immersion agency.” With this designation the organization will work to streamline and improve services for youth in foster care while also working to reform the system as a whole. Philbin has an MSW in addition to the NPML Graduate Certificate.  

MPPA 2013 graduate Jeffrey Roorda is running for County Executive in Jefferson County. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face off against the Republican opponent in the Nov. 6, 2018 General Election. This is an open seat, as the current County Executive is not running for re-election. Jeff previously served eight years in the Missouri House of Representatives until he was term-limited in 2015. 

MPPA and NPML 2016 graduate Ericka Thomas was selected as a spring cohort by Focus St. Louis' Emerging Leaders program, and started a new job as the Operations Lead at ArchCity Defenders.

NPML 2009 graduate Laura Musler Washburn switched jobs from Daughters of Charity, to the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis. Laura joined the Arts and Education Council in April 2018 as a financial accountant. In this role, Laura is responsible for accounting support to improve and sustain the finances of arts and education.

MPPA and NPML 2004 graduate Dana (Alexander) Woods relocated from Salem, Oregon to Lake Oswego, Oregon in 2012 and works as a grants manager for a local human service organization.

PPA webpage features
Job Opportunities

Looking to make a change? The PPA Job Opportunities webpage makes it easier for students and alumni to find new situations. It's located on the PPA main webpage – select the “Job Opportunities” button from the left side, or here is the direct link to the page.
The Job and Internship Opportunities webpages allow us to place the opportunities we receive in one central location. If you hear of, or have, a job or internship opportunity that you think would be of interest to our students and/or alumni, please send it to for inclusion. 

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UM-St. Louis Public Policy Administration
406 Tower, One University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121
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