Wow, first week complete! For all you first-years feeling overwhelmed by the start of classes and the many opportunities at Wagner, take solace in knowing that one year from now, you will feel like a pro. It’s a lot like coming back for your second year of junior high — you know the shortcuts, the teachers, and you don’t get lost looking for classes anymore. I am feeling like such a cool kid these days.
Here’s my obligatory intro: I’m endlessly curious about cities, how they deal with change, and the socioeconomic consequences of those changes. I came to Wagner to think about and discuss these issues against the backdrop of one of the world’s most engaging and resilient cities, New York. Like many Wagnerds, I am driven by the prospect of effecting positive change in the world. In my case, that world is Detroit, where I spent five years helping local government leaders and young people develop collaborative strategies to regional challenges before beginning my MPA at Wagner. I spent this past summer in Los Angeles as a fellow in Mayor Villaraigosa’s Office of Economic and Business Policy. As a result, I’m increasingly interested in how local government can influence job creation and economic development, especially in economically-disadvantaged areas.
I see the WPA as a vehicle for elevating discussions about policymaking methods and tactics, as well as specific policies of interest to Wagner students. What I hope to do this year is create opportunities to not only bring experienced experts to these discussions, but enable us all to tap into the collective knowledge of the Wagner student body. I am continuously impressed and inspired by the experiences of my peers, many of whom have developed extensive skills and knowledge after years of working in the field. Hopefully we’ll manage to extract some of this insight through targeted events and activities this year. If you have ideas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!