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Political Science

Student Spotlights

Kaitlyn Hudgins, Clemson MPA Graduate

“Spending a week in Haiti was an opportunity to help a community develop an initiative that will address their long term needs for a sustainable food source, public utilities, education and medical needs. I co-lead a specific part of this project with Ginger Balmat, a graduate student at North Carolina State University. Together, she, I and a team of three locals walked every path, street, alley, and walkway in the town of Mango to gather data points to create their first town map. With the help of local Haitians we also gathered census information on the number of houses in the area and how many people were living there. We mapped key data points like churches and schools and created a final map that is currently being used by engineers to develop the town’s first water system. The map helped to separate the town into several zones to determine how many water towers were necessary and where to place them. Ultimately the map will be used to create street names and generate house numbers with a goal of getting mail brought to the community. Collecting data and analyzing it provided actual experience and context for what I am learning in the field of public administration. The project furthered my experience towards my professional goals to work in the field of sustainable development.”

Kaitlyn Hudgins, MPA Graduate

Vernita Boone, Clemson MPA Graduate

“In my new position at the United Way of Greenville, I am seeing what the MPA program has taught me in action here at the United Way. This organization's approach to community issues is very much research-focused which the MPA program at Clemson supports. The benefits of researching before acting makes for much better implementation and outcomes in this field. Almost everything we do has research to back it up. Overall, the MPA has equipped me to be a better public servant. My career in the non-profit sector will not just be characterized by me doing good for the sake of doing good, but doing good in the best way, for the most people, within a thrifty budget.”

Vernita Boone, MPA Graduate

Tracy Smith, Clemson MPA Graduate

“I will tell anyone that will listen how much I enjoyed the MPA program at Clemson. It is a great option for working professionals. I began working at the City of Rock Hill as an intern and realized my interest in local government. Through my time here I have worked as Community Development Specialist, then Grants Specialist, and now Supervisor of the Grants Division. The Grants Division includes 3 staff members and operates to support City initiatives by identifying the most appropriate funders, developing and packaging proposals, managing awards, and assisting staff at all stages of grant resource development. I’ve really enjoyed working in grants because it allows me to get involved in different activities of local government – from public safety to infrastructure to housing development.”

Tracy Smith, MPA Graduate

David Garner, Clemson MPA Graduate

“I work for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division as a Regional Emergency Management Coordinator (REM). I specifically work in Region 1, which consists of Abbeville, Anderson, Edgefield, Greenville, Greenwood, McCormick, Oconee, and Pickens. The MPA program at Clemson has and continues to benefit me on a daily basis. From my beginnings in the program I was able to develop a firm grasp of the process that public policy goes through and see it in action in my professional career. Since then I have used classes such as Cybersecurity to analyze threats and understand where policy action could prevent some vulnerabilities that have been exposed, and Administrative Leadership to develop myself as a servant leader. I am not only a stronger academic because of this program, but have been prepared to compete on the highest level for senior and executive level positions at any level of government. I attribute every bit of my confidence and preparation to the MPA program at Clemson and the nationwide network of instructors who are truly experts in their fields.”

David Garner, MPA Graduate

Rob Hochstetler, Clemson MPA Graduate

“Clemson’s MPA program is world class. When a person has a choice of various on-line programs, there is every reason to be selective. What attracted me to the Clemson program were the professors and most importantly the interaction between professors and students and just as importantly student-to-student interaction. I find I learn just as much from my peers as I do from the books and instructors and this makes Clemson’s MPA program special.”

Rob Hochstetler, MPA Graduate

Department of Political Science
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