Meet Carla! Carla works on citizenship and naturalization policy matters for the United States Department of Homeland Security. She is also an Adjunct Professor at both Villanova and Temple University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Temple University and her Master’s degree in Public Policy from George Mason University. Carla is based in Washington, D.C.
1) Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How/what made you join the Villanova MPA faculty?
I currently work for the United States Department of Homeland Security, conducting research and policy analysis on matters involving citizenship and naturalization benefits. I absolutely love my job, and am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work in a variety of roles in the immigration field. From September 2010 to August 2016, I was the Community Relations Officer for the 5th district of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, where I designed outreach initiatives and engaged with immigrant stakeholders throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. From September 2008 to September 2010, I served as an Immigration Law Analyst for a headquarter component of Homeland Security. I also worked as an Immigration Counselor for a charter school in Washington, D.C., assisting adult immigrants with humanitarian and family-based cases, and at immigration law firms in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, P.A., preparing both employment and family-based cases.
After working with immigrant populations for years, teaching seemed like a natural fit, and when approached about an opportunity with the Villanova MPA program, I jumped at the chance! As my students will attest, I bring a lot of my immigration experience into the classroom and hope that they enjoy it as much as I do.
2) What course(s) are you teaching? What can students expect to learn in it/them?
This summer, I will be teaching my second “Managing Public Networks” course. In class, we cover everything from governance to managing conflicts among the various job sectors (government / private) to negotiation tactics. At a minimum, I hope my students leave the course with a greater understanding of the many moving parts that comprise the way our networks are arranged. However, my goal is for students to take what we learn and apply it to their professional and private lives. It’s a fun, interactive class, with lots of time for debates and negotiation simulations — if you haven’t signed up, do so! You won’t regret it!
3) What advice do you have for current MPA students?
Volunteer! Finding the right job (or any job) in your area of interest isn’t always easy. I always knew that I wanted to work in the field of immigration, but I didn’t know in what capacity. Through volunteer opportunities as an ESL teacher and legal assistant, I was able to learn about different issues that affect immigrant populations, make important contacts, and gain a better sense of what I wanted to do.