Alison Cassady

Why did you choose the SPEA Connect MPA program?

I started graduate school at a different university after college but completed only one semester before pursuing a work opportunity. I've wanted to return to graduate school since that time but haven't wanted to pause my career. That's why I was excited to find an online program like SPEA Connect. In addition, I appreciated that SPEA Connect offers professionals like me the opportunity to obtain course credit for their work experience.

I wanted to obtain an MPA to acquire specific quantitative analysis skills; gain a more theoretical understanding of how government agencies and organizations should operate; and learn how to evaluate the financial and programmatic performance of the agencies I care about, such as the EPA.

Did you have any concerns about enrolling in an online program?

I work at a computer most of the day, so I worried that it would be difficult to return to a computer at home after leaving the office. I was right! I've learned that the most efficient way for me to complete my homework is to stay at the office late and power through the material. I also worried that it would be difficult to learn certain topics in an online environment, such as statistics. And it certainly was challenging! I had to learn to be a little more self-reliant in mastering the material while also reaching out to classmates for help when I got stuck.