Tag Archives: student spotlight

Student Spotlight – Earvin Faust

Meet Earvin! He is in his second year of the MPA program. Earvin graduated with a Bachelors’ Degree in Criminal Justice from Temple University in 2008 and is currently a full-time Police Officer with the Villanova University Department of Public Safety.

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1) Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How has your time with the MPA program thus far helped you in your career?

I’ve held positions related to safety, security, and investigations for the last 14 years.  I’ve been a retail loss prevention executive, private investigator, security staff supervisor, and I am currently a Villanova University police officer.  As a leader and dedicated public servant, the MPA program has encouraged more deliberative and unbiased ethical thinking on my part before making critical decisions as well as considering the impact my decisions will have on others.   It’s reinforced my ability to focus on the greater good of the Villanova community and society as a whole while making the pivotal decisions that are associated with my line of work.

2) What do you think is the most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program?

The most valuable aspects of Villanova’s MPA program are the level of expertise held by the instructors, student diversity, and smaller class sizes.  The program’s instructors clearly have strong academic and practical knowledge related to the subject.  The student group comes from diverse backgrounds and have varied work/life experience.  The smaller class sizes allow a degree of engagement in the classroom between students and instructors where all of that knowledge can be shared and considered from many points of view.  It’s definitely an effective approach to understanding how to lead equitably in public service.

3) What is your favorite thing about the Nova Nation?

My favorite thing about the Nova Nation is the welcoming attitude which permeates the campus.  I noticed this during my first visit to the campus in June 2014 and have felt like I was with family at Villanova ever since.  Prior to entering the MPA program, I had been absent from academia for 8 years.  The friendly, supportive staff and faculty of the MPA program greatly increased my comfort level as I took on this new challenge.

Earvin (center) with other members of Villanova Public Safety following his graduation from Delaware County Community College Police Academy in December 2016.

Student Spotlight: Brandon Celentano

Meet Brandon! Brandon is in his third and final year of the MPA program. He graduated from Villanova in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and currently works full-time in Villanova’s Alumni Relations Office. We checked in with him about his time with Villanova MPA thus far!

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1) What do you think is the most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program?

What I like most about the program is the incredible diversity of the student body. I have had classmates who work in literally every sector of business, government and nonprofit, and they all bring their unique experiences and perspectives to the table. It allows for thought-provoking class discussions where I’m able to learn so much just by listening and talking to my colleagues. The fact that several classes regularly employ group projects and in-class group activities really facilitates this process of peer-to-peer learning.

2) How has your time with the MPA program thus far helped you in your career?

The program has enabled me to think more critically about my work and how I can do better. I love that nearly every class has a capstone assignment that challenges me to apply what I have learned to improve either my organization or another of my choosing. As a result, I’ve become more adept at identifying problems at work and I am more comfortable speaking out about things that I think can be enhanced or fixed.

3) What is your favorite thing about the Nova Nation?

The people with whom I work and learn are my favorite part of the Nation. At work, I feel truly blessed to have colleagues who are passionate about what they do and are always willing to lend a helping hand. In class, I am equally fortunate to be surrounded by faculty and classmates who genuinely care about my success both in and out of the classroom.

Brandon (left) at Villanova’s May 2016 Commencement

Student Spotlight: Sarah Kelley

Meet Sarah Kelley! Sarah is pursuing a Masters in Theatre and certificate in Nonprofit Management at Villanova. She graduated with a Bachelors in Theatre and History from Boston College in 2014 and moved to Philadelphia with her boyfriend Jon (Villanova Law JD Candidate ’17, VSB MBA Candidate ’17) to pursue a career in Arts Administration and Academic Theatre. She is originally from Satellite Beach, Florida where she graduated from the International Baccalaureate high school program. She looks forward to continuing her theatre studies this summer in Dublin, Ireland at the Abbey Theatre.

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1) What do you think is the most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program (especially your experience with the Nonprofit Management Certificate)?

The most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program for me so far is the real-world experience that the classes provide and emphasize. The MPA is a professional degree and the professors treat us as peers. Every hypothetical situation explored in class has helped me envision my future. For example, in Effective Nonprofit Management I branched away from my theatre background and worked with the Women’s Resource Center in Wayne, PA. Through the project, I met both classmates and professional contacts beyond the arts that will help me extend my job search post-graduation.

2) As a theater student, what made you decide to also take up the Nonprofit Management Certificate? How do you see theater and public administration coming together in your career?

I started the Nonprofit Management certificate along with my Masters in Theatre after spending four years working in theatre administration through my undergraduate theater box office and one year working professionally in Philadelphia in financial management and marketing for the arts. After working for qualified, quality managers in these positions I thought to myself, “I can do this”. My original goal entering Villanova was to come out with a job as an associate in a development or marketing department in the performing arts sector and to work my way up to managing a department at a regional level or even a Broadway theater. After a year in the program, my career plans have shifted toward theatre academia and pedagogy, but even though I am now considering a career in dramaturgy and literary management, marketing and nonprofit skills will hopefully make me a more well-rounded theater staff member and therefore much more likely to get a good job when I leave Villanova and move up quickly!

3) What is your favorite thing about the Nova Nation?

My favorite thing about the Nova nation is the inclusive and productive attitudes of the students, faculty, and staff. I feel like everywhere I turn I find someone with a smile and an answer to a question I may not have even known I had. Especially as an incoming graduate student, I was nervous about how I would feel walking around campus both during the day and the evening at a primarily undergraduate institution. Over this year, I’ve found myself feeling extremely included in both undergraduate and graduate events and activities and I’ve never felt out of place on campus. I try to keep up with the Wildcat Newswire to see what is going on around Villanova and I love having the option to try new things and keep myself involved in the culture here.

4) Do you have any special talents and/or hobbies?

I love doing yoga and dancing, especially tap. As a teen I danced competitively, but now it is just a hobby for the weekends and whenever I can find a class here and there. I love learning about Irish history and often spend free-time letting my inner nerd out and listening to podcasts about Ireland. I also enjoy playing with my cat which makes me feel like a true graduate student.

PSA Minor Student Spotlight: Aaron Sandifer

Meet Aaron! He is a student in our Public Service and Administration minor! Here’s his bio:

I am a Division I Track and Field athlete and senior Communication major at Villanova University. You can find me most of my time on the track running over hurdles for the Track and Field team. I’m a team captain and during my sophomore year became Villanova’s first BIG EAST Conference Champion in the 110-meter hurdles since 1986. While off the track, I am active, working in the Center for Multicultural Affairs and serving as a track liaison for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

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1) What interested you in the PSA minor program?

To be honest, I have fought to expand people’s perceptions of what it means to be a black man throughout my life. Growing up as the son of a military officer, I believed in my freedom to pursue my dreams and knew that I must work to uphold and exercise that right. Experiencing life in a Southern suburban community taught me that social constructs and their implications on marginalized communities generate oppressive stereotypes that impede progress and engender sentiments of futility, which ultimately perpetuate inequality within society. I live in a society that was founded on the tenet of equal opportunity, yet continuously tries to benchmark me against my peers with hopes of being “as good” or “educated enough” to obtain a job. Society continually binds me to the societal expectation of what it means to be “black,” treating my racial identity not as a gift seated in rich culture and history, but a conviction. I have always felt it in my heart to want to learn how to change the status quo and be able to inspire those around me to recognized their voice and make a real difference in our daily lives. My undergraduate degree in communication has taught me to come to the service of others and examine the varying social conditions to best assess and aid the needs of others by being able to effectively lead by example. From the PSA minor, I hope to gain perspective on government and initiatives to enhance my understanding of the public sector and gauge sentiments of progress. Ultimately, I pursued this minor because I have been chasing a dream to make those around me think harder, learn from one another and try to make a brighter future for our children. 

2) Are there any particular courses or learning experiences during your time in the PSA program that stands out to you?

Hands down my favorite course that I was able to take under the PSA program was Public Policy with Dr. Lauren Miltenberger. What made this course so exciting and such an overall great experience was the semester-end public policy models that we had researched with our cohort groups that looked at different initiatives anywhere from healthcare to foreign policy. Our goal within each of our groups was to present an issue that was affecting our social area and find three policy alternatives that exist to combat the issue and present a solution, whether a single or hybrid model, that existed to explain how one’s initiative could be the solution a country needed on a universal level. This project allowed us to get creative, but most of all it showed us that true policy work is a process that needs hope to be equitable, effective, and gain the public’s trust to make real change possible.

3) What are your possible future career choices?

At the moment, I am a graduating senior and like my parents always told me growing up, “the sky’s the limit and never believe there is a peak that you cannot reach.” This saying has gone a long way for me and I am happy to say that I have accepted a job with Synchrony Financial working with the Sales and Relationship Management team as part of a 2-year Business Leadership rotational program. As for that lies for me in the future, I am not sure. Though, I have always felt a passion to want to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an intelligence agency, and of course run for state office. Again, I am not sure where I will end up but I know that the lessons and experiences I have gained from being a part of the PSA minor program have equipped me to be successful in any capacity that I serve to make a difference in my community.

 

 

 

Student Spotlight: Devan Stewart

Meet Devan! She is a current student in our online MPA program. We asked her a few questions about her experiences in the MPA program thus far and how it’s helping her in the professional world. Check it out!

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What do you think is the most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program?

I would have to say that the MPA family (that includes professors, current students, alumni and staff) is most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA Program. The professors are knowledgeable, friendly, outgoing and invoke in us the abilities to be anything we want to be. As a current student ,I enjoyed meeting other current students both online and in class who share common goals and interests. It is so great to meet so many professionals all over the country who have chosen this fine institution to enhance their careers. I have learned so much from them both personally and professionally.

I also love how involved the alumni are. Many of my friends and colleagues have graduated from this program and I love how they are always there to answer questions and motivate current students to do their best. It inspires me to be the same when I graduate from the program. Most importantly the support staff who works relentlessly to help students, alumni and professors to stay on track and keep everything going. They are always there to help with any questions I have and always go above and beyond what is expected of them. I’d say all together this is one fabulous family and I proud to be a part of it.

I definitely agree with that! Next question – how has your time with the MPA program thus far helped you in your career?

So far the MPA program has helped me both on the job and in the job search. When I started the program (on-campus) I was working as an assistant town manager in Pennsylvania. The coursework was so helpful in helping me develop as an individual in my profession. It helped me look at issues in a different way and allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom to each issue. The coursework also helped me better understand more about local government policies and how managers work to make great decisions for our communities. More recently I have switched to the online program and continue to learn even more about public administration. I have been on a job search over the last few months and found that the variety of courses offered in the program make me a marketable candidate in local government and non-profit work. There is no doubt that after the completion of this program I will have broad background that will only help me advance in my career goals for years to come.

What is your favorite thing about the Nova Nation?

My favorite thing about Nova Nation is the connections and friendships I have made throughout my time in the program. I love that the MPA program is available to so many people across the nation and they are making a difference in their communities through this wonderful program. I am also proud to say that the Villanova Wildcats Basketball team is #1. That is something to be proud of for sure!