Graduate Programs

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“Never Quit Learning!” by Master of Public Administration Student & Student Veterans Resource Center Employee, Helen Budd

“I’m finally done!”

Famous last words!  After I graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Cleary University in 2009 with a concentration in Non-Profit Management, I thought my higher education career had finally ended and I could read a good fiction novel!  That was the case for a while, and then I moved to the University of Michigan-Flint in 2013 where a whole new world of different programs beckoned.

It took me a couple of years to take this next significant leap into academia, but the Master of Public Administration was my first and obvious choice.  I am service-oriented which is clearly reflected in my career path, serving student veterans who have earned various education benefits and tuition assistance resources during their service.  In addition, I serve dependents of military service members who are entitled to VA benefits in certain situations.  I have now worked in this kind of role for 12 years.

Obviously, working with VA benefits in my current role at UM-Flint (Go Blue!) requires a certain level of knowledge of federal and state regulations and the intergovernmental relationships that are involved.  Additionally, there are many non-profit resources and peer mentor programs for veterans and dependents.  What better choice, then, for a second Master’s degree than the MPA?  I am excited that this degree will equip me with essential knowledge, should I seek a position somewhere in the state, federal or local government, which is the next logical step for me in my chosen vocation.  Preferably somewhere warmer, where it is 70 degrees year-round … like San Diego, California.  I’ve already selected my corner office facing the San Diego Harbor where I can watch the helicopters and ships all day.

Joking aside, the combination of my MBA in Non-Profit Management and the Master of Public Administration will equip me with the comprehensive realm of knowledge that is expected of public servants and administrators of non-profit organizations.  I know for certain that I will not pursue a career in law, but it will be helpful to have an in-depth knowledge of administrative law and public policy.  My current courses – PUB 500 – Politics, Policy, and Public Administration with Dr. Daniel Hummel, and PUB 519 – Law and Administrative Process with Dr. Saks McManaway – combine some of the same concepts.  What I may not understand in one class is usually clarified in the other.  The classes are interesting (despite their titles!) and I am learning a great deal.

One highlight of the Fall semester – I attended my first football game at the Big House where the Wolverines beat Rutgers!  I traveled to Ann Arbor on the bus with alumni of UM-Flint.  This is an annual outing for homecoming, and a lot of fun!  Now that I have spent that time with some really great people and taken in the atmosphere of the Big House, I can’t wait to become a fully-fledged member of the UM-Flint Alumni Association!

Go Blue!


You can see more of Helen’s career by visiting the Student Veterans Resource Center webpage.