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Jasmine A. Higgins

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Jasmine A. Higgins

Albany, NY

Academic School



New York

What are your career goals / academic goals?

My career goals evolve the more I learn about Public Administration and the myriad of career path options. My 5-year career goal is to become the Chief of Staff or Chief of Operations to the Mayor of the City of Albany, or a Director of Policy for a state agency or an Executive. My primary academic research focus is the operationalization of social equity in government - it’s something I’ve been able to weave into my work and has helped to expand my understanding of what’s possible within the field.

The Marist MPA program and the wealth of information that I’ve had access to and the skills I’ve learned has made me consider whether I want my formal academic endeavors to end with the Marist MPA program. I hope to complete the Marist MPA program and make a final determination about whether I will pursue a PhD in Public Administration or a PhD in Public Policy.

Why did you choose to pursue your graduate degree at Marist? Why did you choose to pursue this degree program?

As an undergraduate student I held an internship in my hometown in the Albany Mayor’s Office, which was pivotal to my interest in government and public administration. After being an intern for one semester, I knew that I wanted to work in the Mayor’s Office. After two semesters and working for the Department of Recreation as a Summer Youth Employee, the Chief of Staff at the time, a Marist Grad, offered me a part-time job. I worked as a part-time employee in the Mayor's

Office and learned that I loved government and really enjoyed being able to give back to my hometown. After graduating from college, I took a year off to decide between whether pursuing a law degree or an MPA would give me the skills I felt I needed to best help move my city forward and create positive change. Seeing the firsthand benefits of the program and learning more about the courses and concentrations was a big deciding factor. What really sold me on the program was the combination of being able to learn from practitioners and the flexibility of the hybrid MPA Albany program that allowed me to keep my position in the Mayor’s Office while simultaneously taking classes that were directly applicable to my day-to-day work.

Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development / academic development.

The Statistics for Public Managers course was particularly meaningful to both my academic and professional development. Prior to the course, I had a basic understanding of statistics, and was proficient enough in Excel. The course, specifically the assignments, allowed me to better understand how to utilize statistics and interpret statistical models and data, a vital function of my role as a Policy Analyst. This has translated into my ability to better interpret data and generate surveys and survey analysis. Additionally, I went from being able to create simple tables in Excel to learning how to analyze large data sets in a fraction of the time using the breadth of statistical analysis tools available in Excel.

Tell us about a meaningful experience you had at Marist as it pertains to your degree (whether that be with a Professor, Marist service, Scholarship opportunity, etc.).

I enjoyed the Global Issues in Public Administration course quite a bit, mainly due to my personal and professional interests in social equity and diversity. The Global Issues in PA course offered an opportunity to do in depth assessments of some of the most renowned instances of crisis across the globe and really enhance and foster a broader cultural understanding and ability to deal with daily, extenuating, complex, and difficult public administration matters. The combination of the readings, the assignments, class discussions, and a professor who encourages folks to think big while being realistic made the course stand out. In that same token, I have had a largely positive experience while at Marist. The coursework continues to be relevant and interesting, the student-body thoughtful, and the professors knowledgeable and always willing to offer a helping hand.

What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing this degree at Marist?

The Marist MPA program gives you the necessary skills to tackle real-world matters and learn from dedicated professionals who work every day to keep the public and non-profit sector running. The professors and faculty, the students, the resources, the network and the diversity of experience, perspective, and the wealth of information that’s available at Marist gives prospective, new and experienced government and non-profit employees the skills that are needed to make a positive impact in their communities.