Graduate Spotlight: Christopher Angeloni

Learn more about how USF MPA graduate, Christopher Angeloni, has progressed in his career as a result of the MPA program. He discusses his experience and outcomes with our Enrollment Advisor in this short webinar.

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Karen: Okay so now we’re going to be starting this webinar in regards to graduate spotlight Christopher. And first we are going to simply go through the agenda. We’re going to do a couple of introductions, a Q&A session then we’re going to talk about the steps on how to apply to the program.

Christopher: Mhm.

Karen: Starting with myself. Again my name is Karen Charlot and I am the Academic Advisor for this program. My role is to assist students with applying to the University of San Francisco’s online Master’s program in Public Administration. And now we have Christopher Angeloni. Christopher, why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Christopher: So I currently live in South Windsor, Connecticut. I attended the University of Connecticut for my undergraduate degree. I graduated in 2009. I wanted to continue my education, I wanted to see some different places, give myself some different options so I started my Masters in, I believe, in 2014 at the University of San Francisco. It offered me a lot of different options and a little something I haven’t seen before, especially coming the other side of the country. Since then, I’ve began a job at the Department of Veteran Affairs. I initially started as a Veterans Service Representative in the Veterans Benefits Administration and I currently am a Management Analyst for the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Karen: Very good. Okay, so now we just have several different questions, Christopher, that I would like to ask of you that would really assist us in regards to how to really assist students with the expectation of the online program here at the University of San Francisco for the online MPA program. Okay?

Christopher: Okay, yep.

Karen: What drew you to pursue your MPA degree at the University of San Francisco?

Christopher: One of the things that drew me to the University of San Francisco, was one, something that was different. Coming from the east coast, I didn’t want the stereotypical thought process and approach and strategy that a lot of colleges take here. I wanted something that was going to be different – that was going to offer a broader range of thoughts, opinions, views on the public sector and the world in general. The big thing that drove me to USF, I did a lot of research on the program. I like the ability that it had some of flexibility in time because it was online, as well as, the duration. It wasn’t one of those programs that tend to draw on and on and on, where you feel like you couldn’t keep up with it. But I’ve also been to San Francisco a bunch of times and the city is second to none. So it was one of those things where it was a perfect storm of education, opportunity, and location.

[3:04]

Karen: Very good. What would you say is the overall dynamic of the online classroom?

Christopher: The dynamic is very interesting. It’s very fluid, it’s very mobile, and it keeps you on your toes. You have a lot of different people, with a lot of different opinions, a lot of different thoughts and approaches to each topic. Especially with the current climate, both politically and socially, you’re able to kind of view a lot of different things. You’re able to view different people’s thoughts, especially being on different parts of the country with the online medium and platform.
You’re able to view a lot of the teacher’s thoughts and kind of how they brought discussions a little bit further and kept them continuing and opened your mind – avenues that you never would have thought. They would bring questions, bring answers, bring whatever they thought would be something that would spark more conversation and insight into the conversation. So combining all those aspects, it was really telling and very informational.

Karen: Very good, very good to hear. Now even though the program was 100% online, was there a lot of collaboration, both with other students and professors?

Christopher: Yes, there was a lot of collaboration. There are group projects throughout the course of the program. That I very much enjoyed because it forces you to use these different means. In a world that is ever evolving with technology, using that technology to interact with other students, with your professors, with the faculty to get to that ultimate goal in working as a team. University of San Francisco is doing a very good job in keeping up technologically with the times. That’s for sure.

Karen: Very good, very good. Now, how were you able to balance the MPA courses along with your professional and your personal life?

Christopher: Balancing it wasn’t too tough for me, to be honest. I was able to take the courses and block out my time because the workload isn’t overbearing but it’s not so little that you don’t know what you were going to do. It’s a solid balance between being able to understand and gain the knowledge of the material with being able to continue your life outside of your education, with it being professional or personal, whatever it may be. So as long as you have the ability to time manage, you shouldn’t have any problem completing the course. The school does a very good job of laying out the courses and schedule of the program so that it did offer a solid balance. It did offer the opportunity. There was a lot of flexibility with the faculty and finding ways to get through everything, to be able to pass everything, be successful in everything. But if you needed extra, they would be able to go the extra mile to balance you out with outside factors.

[6:21]

Karen: Very good. Now did you have any favorite parts of the curriculum?

Christopher: My favorite parts, honestly, were the whole curriculum. It was a progressive curriculum that built – what are the principles and foundations of public administration? What are some of the strategies, theories, and tactics of public administration? Then you jump into a lot of the other aspects such as how do you work with the mathematics and statistics with it. After that, the course progresses. It touches upon just about everything from human resources to public relations to management and leadership skills. I like the entire curriculum because it encompasses everything you need to know. It didn’t focus in on one particular area.

Karen: Okay, now did you feel like the coursework was specific to the public administration field and that it prepared you adequately for the field of public administration?

Christopher: Yes, the coursework definitely was focused on public administration as a field and as a profession. A lot of the materials were drawn directly from individuals that worked within in the field. A lot of the books that we were taking part with the classes, reading, studying from were all directly linked to public administration. Whether it be through examples within it, theories. Business administration and public administration – there’s a lot of differences. Public administration is very people oriented, civil oriented. You’re not trying to make a profit. So there’s a lot more human aspect of it. A lot of the material in the courses did focus on that human aspect. It made you interact with that human aspect. I remember one project we had to progressively go through scenarios where you would have to manage public relations. I mean how often are you going to run into schools and programs that make you interact with how you would handle, what exactly you would say with a certain situation. I’ve never run into it and I’ve been in school almost ten years I did school.

Karen: Now is there anything that you learned in your coursework that you were able to apply directly to your professional life?

Christopher: I apply a lot of it. I apply a lot the public relations work. I also apply a lot of the statistics work. As a Management Analyst, that’s one of the big things I need to do. I need to take the statistics numbers and turn them into tangible items. Those tangible items usually end up reflecting on our stakeholders within the public realm which means public relations. So a lot of the coursework definitely has been interjected in my career and they have worked in conjunction with each other, for sure.

Karen: Okay, what did you hope to achieve by earning your MPA?

Christopher: I specifically chose the University of San Francisco to do my MPA for the reason of broadening my horizon, opening up some different cultural avenues and thought processes, and being able to improve myself as an individual. My goal was to be able to learn more, to be able to grow my career with this degree but intrinsically focus on how can I do that with the education that I gain. Not so much using the credential as leverage to get to that point.

Karen: Okay, okay. What expectations, if any, do you have for job outcomes did you actually have?

[10:19]

Christopher: I have high expectations. I feel that the education I had at the University of San Francisco was second to none. So far, it has reflected itself. I’ve been able to secure my current job because of my Master’s degree from the university. I’ve been moving onward and upward fairly quickly within the federal government because of my master’s degree. As far as expectations, I believe that the sky is the limit. It’s just a matter of where you want to put your own ceiling.

Karen: Okay, good, good. Now what motivated you to stay in the program and to actually finish the degree plan, as well?

Christopher: My motivation was completion, to be honest. There was nothing I didn’t enjoy about it. That’s the big thing. If the hardest part about it was doing coursework for two years, then, that’s not too bad. You have to enjoy what you’re doing and I really enjoyed it. So there wasn’t a whole lot of challenge for me to push through and finish the program. It was more the desire to keep learning – what’s the next course? What are we going to learn in it? How is it going to better me as a person and push my career forward?

Karen: Good, good. And did you get a chance to actually attend gradation? If so, what was your “aha” moment? Or what did you enjoy the most about graduation if you attended?

Christopher: I did attend graduation. I personally loved it. I got to meet a lot of my classmates. A lot of these people that you interact with that you never put their face to it. You’re doing these projects, you’re talking to them, you’re debating, you’re agreeing, you’re disagreeing, you’re offering alternative opinions. You finally get to meet these people face to face from all walks of life, all over the country. It’s just fantastic. And then when you’re lining up, you’re walking across the stage at the cathedral to receive your diploma – it’s a culmination of a lot of things and a lot of emotions and a lot of people. It’s hitting all of your high points all at the same time and it’s fantastic.

Karen: Good, good. Now is there anything you would like to say to prospective students that may have not applied as of yet?

[12:46]

Christopher: I would say do it. And do it through the University of San Francisco. The teachers, the professors, the faculty, everybody helps you every single step of the way. The student base – it’s open minded. It’s culturally different. I had nothing but a great experience. That’s the only way I can put it. The experience was unbelievable. Everyone that I talk to that says that they’re debating getting a public administration masters, I say look at the University of San Francisco. My experience was unbelievable.

Karen: Good, good. And what would be your advice to current or potential students at this time? More so now, with the students that are currently in the program, what would be your advice to them?

Christopher: Soak it all up. All the information, even if you don’t think you’re going to use it at some point in time, you will use it. And you will better yourself and you will better your career because like I said before, the ceiling is only as high as you put it.

Karen: Good, good. Well Christopher I wanted to thank you so very much for definitely giving us some insight. This is going to really impact how our students really feel about the program overall. It’s really rewarding as an Advisor to hear that you’ve had such a great experience. I am excited to see many more students come into this program, with not just with the excitement but to actually maintain that excitement, through and through the program, class by class, regardless of what their schedules may actually look like. Thank you so very much for taking out the time to speak with me as the Advisor, especially, and I’m definitely hoping, and I already know and can tell, that this is going to be a continuous victory in regards to both your educational and your professional endeavors so thank you again.

Christopher: Oh I appreciate it. Hope I can help you guys in the future and current students, keep on pushing. Sometimes it gets tough but you just gotta understand that the goal is worth the time.

Karen: Indeed. Thanks so much.

Christopher: Thank you, very much. Have a good day.
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