Maxwell From The Lens Of A Peruvian Exchange Student!

Student Life in Maxwell

Hello Maxwellians!

My name is Liz Giron, and I am a one-year MPA student. I grew up in Peru, a culturally and geographically diverse nation, where I majored in Economics in my home city, Lima. Prior to Maxwell, I devoted my career on social policy design and evaluation. I served as an Evaluation Specialist at World Vision International in Peru, as a social affairs specialist at the Peruvian Ministry of Economics and Finance, and as social protection advisor for Latin America at the German Cooperation (GIZ). After eight years of work, I decided to follow my passion for designing social protection schemes, and innovative economic inclusion programs to transform economic growth in wellbeing and social development for the poor. With this goal in mind, I choose Maxwell to make myself the most impact, especially in the international development arena. This renowned school offered me both managerial and strong analytical skills. However, I have to admit that I enrolled with some doubt. Feeling I had grown much during the last working years, I was concerned that a master’s degree might prove to be too academic and impractical insights. Actually, the MPA has far exceeded my expectations!!!

The adventure began!

A day just like today 3 months ago, I arrived at Syracuse in a UHL van that my husband drove from Boston to here. Two days after, I was starting the Summer term. Since that moment, I felt completely grateful for the opportunity to be here. Academically, our first week in the School attending the Public Administration Colloquium was totally revealing. I got confident that the MPA curricula have a practical orientation to help us developing key skills to lead, solve problems, and make decisions in public settings. I also realized how important will be our role to connect well supported technical proposals with people’s voices. Likewise, I learnt one of the most important lessons for my career as public servant “there is never a single way to solve a problem”. Even thought, it sounds evident, when you design a proposal to resolve a public problem, it is common to defend what you think it is the best option. Thus, many times I got frustrated when the more “technically correct option” that my team developed was not implemented. During the summer colloquium, I learnt that we can get as many different proposals as the number of teams we can conform. Thus, what it is really important, as prof. Bifulco said, it is always to go many steps ahead with our solutions.

Likewise, throughout the summer, meeting our core course professors and all sharing time with all of you made me to understand that the people “The Maxwell Mafia” is the most valuable resource in the School. The faculty are authorities in their fields, and they have demonstrated their personal commitment with our learning process, which goes beyond their responsibility as professors. Likewise, I felt inspired and enriched in my daily basis for your diverse perspectives and skills, your service vocation and passion to build a better society. Personally, I feel that you became my Maxwell family. During the summer, we shared everything together, long hours solving our budgeting exercises, writing memos, debating the big questions on democracy, failures and successes, parties, brunches and trips. Just to give an example, we had an incredibly Peruvian Independent Day Party where instead of feeling nostalgia for not being in my country, your cheerfulness for knowing my culture and celebrate the diversity made me feel at home.

Making the decision to come to grad school is not always an easy one. It involves taking a break from an ascending career, and in the case of international students, it can involve moving far away from our comfortable zone. However, now I am confident that for all of us this will be an unforgettable year and a life changing experience!!!

2017-2018 PAIRA Members

It has been a Maxwell tradition that each year an newly elected  executive board for the Public Administration and International Relations Association is enacted.

It is my pleasure to Introduce the 2017-2018 PAIRA executive board. I am sure that these highly intelligent, professional public servants will have an impactful and progressive year here as Maxwell.

President: Ryan Pensyl

I am a graduate of the United States Military Academy who served as an Army officer for 11 years. As President of PAIRA for AY 2017-18, I am dedicated to working tirelessly to maximizing the student experience by finding ways to enhance all aspects of our top-notch programs while maintaining a safe, inclusive, and fun learning environment.

It’s going to be a great year!
Vice President-Public Administration: Elizabeth Dagle
I am a MPA student working on a Certificate of Advanced Study in Health Services Management and Policy. Prior to coming to Maxwell, I studied Theater and English at Creighton University where I also served on executive boards for numerous student organizations. I spent the last two years serving with AmeriCorps working with low income and first generation high school seniors on their college and scholarship applications. I am looking forward to a year of professional growth with my peers through PAIRA.
Vice President-International Relations: Sanjana Suresh
I’ve come to Maxwell with two years of work experience in the not for profit sector in my home country India.
I hope to be able to bring in as much collaboration among students and leverage our time here for as many advantageous opportunities that come our way.
International Student Ambassador: Antonio Michel
My name is Antonio Michel, I am from Mexico, and I have worked for the past 4 years and a half in the government. I have previous experience in representing student councils, as I was the student council President in high school, and the VP of the board in college. My biggest motivation as the International Student Ambassador is to organize activities where national and international students can exchange experiences, learn new languages, and get to know new cultures. Maxwell already does an excellent job at making us feel at home, but I think international students can engage and participate in more events and networking activities. I will work hard to make sure our voices are heard and our interests represented.

Treasurer: E. Michelle Butcher

My name is E. Michelle Butcher and I am an MPA candidate. As your treasurer for PAIRA, I hope to find creative ways to fund projects and cut costs. I also hope to make events accessible and affordable for all students.

Secretary: Michelle Herr

I am a dual MPA/MAIR student with a focus on security studies. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and previously worked for the Hawaii State Legislature. As Secretary of PAIRA, I hope to work together with the Executive Board and my peers to provide opportunities and professional growth for the students of Public Administration and International Relations.
GSO-PA: Giovanna ErKanat
Hello! My name is Giovanna and I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. Before coming to Maxwell, I spent a few years living abroad as a vagabond before spending the past 5 years working in the nonprofit human services sector in San Francisco. In my role as GSO representative for the MPA program, I look forward to being your connection to the GSO (Graduate Student Organization). I’m here to help facilitate our Maxwell presence at the greater SU grad student level. I come to PAIRA with a lot of experience in volunteer and events management, so I look forward to helping put together all the activities we’ll do this year!


Student Accomplishments: Publication in EU Observer

This post was written by Maxwell student, Mark Temnycky, who has recently had an article published by the EUobserver. The EUobserver is the second most read EU-related news source by journalists after the Financial Times.

When I enrolled in the Maxwell School in June 2015 I was very excited and I wanted to make the most of the two-year public administration and international relations graduate program. During my first year I had a unique opportunity – I had an op-ed on Ukraine published in Forbes. After sharing this exciting news with family, friends, faculty, and staff, I made a personal goal: before graduating in June 2017 I wanted to write another article and have it published.

For several months I wrote other op-ed pieces. These topics ranged from the implications of the ‘Brexit’ decision on Ukraine’s bid for EU membership, my experience abroad working as a parliamentary trainee for Ukrainian Parliament, and future challenges that this Eastern European state may face in 2017. I submitted them as op-ed pieces to various news outlets, yet they were unsuccessful.

I did not let this rejection discourage me, and in January 2017 I came across a new topic: Ukraine’s IT sector. After spending a lot of time researching this industry and learning about Ukraine’s struggle for EU membership, I decided to write an article on how Ukraine’s high quality, rapidly developing IT sector can be of great benefit to Europe and facilitate European integration for this former Soviet state. The end result? It was published in EUobserver.

Rejection is quite frequent with writing op-ed pieces as news agencies receive hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces every day from all over the world. I did not let this discourage me. I am very thankful for these opportunities and have learned an important less during my time at the Maxwell School. I strongly believe that if you put your mind towards something, and if you try hard enough, you might just get what you want. The end result is worth it.