Whether you’re interested in conservation, human rights or affordable housing, an MPA program can help.

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Considering a career in government or the nonprofit sector? Learning to think outside the box is key to success. “Public administrators need to learn how to think big – really big – and acknowledge the incredible complexity of many public problems,” explains Larry Geri, a faculty member at  The Evergreen State College Master of Public Administration program.

“A problem like homelessness or climate change resists easy solutions … they are ‘messes,’ and you don’t solve a mess with a technical solution, Geri says. “You start with analysis. Why haven’t our attempts to make things better been more effective? Then work collaboratively with others to find common ground and take tentative steps forward. That takes patience, emotional intelligence and persistence as well as political skills.”

Whether you’re interested in conservation, human rights or affordable housing, an MPA program can help you to zero in on how to advocate powerfully, create new solutions and accomplish positive change. Here are some examples of recent projects carried out by Evergreen MPA students.

1. State Parks for All Washingtonians: Students created a strategic data management and social marketing plan for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Visitor and non-visitor data provided a framework to answer the question, “How can State Parks identify and better serve underrepresented and underserved communities in terms of access to parks?”

2. Social Media Practices for Nonprofits: Students created a “Best Practices Guide” to be distributed to local nonprofits in order to help them engage with volunteers and to promote public service.

3. Investing in the Future of Farmland: This project explored the challenging question: “How can nonprofit farmland trusts leverage private sector investment tools?” Students analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with different sources of private investment dollars.

4. Juvenile Detention Reform in Washington State: This project delved into the current and perceived concepts of juvenile detention reform in Washington state. Students reviewed prior research on the topic, administered a survey of current detention alternatives in use, and interviewed key professionals involved in juvenile detention in Washington state. Findings were then transposed into articles on Medium.com.

5. Breaking the Cycle: Women in Poverty in Mason County: This engaging documentary investigated the cycle of poverty for women in Mason County, Washington. Students interviewed both women in poverty and the professionals who work with them. The goal was to assess the effectiveness of local programs and what it might take to break the relentless cycle of poverty for these women and their children.

The Evergreen State College in Olympia offers graduate programs in Public Administration, Environmental Studies and Teaching. Visit www.evergreen.edu/graduatestudies