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MPA-JD Student Spends Her Summer Interning at the City Finance Dept

July 25 Monday 10:00 PM

Hannah Walker, a joint MPA-JD student, is interning in the city's Department of Finance here in Lexington, Kentucky. Hannah describes her experiences in this position below. 

My internship has been with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG). I started there in October 2015 when I began a fellowship in the Mayor’s Office. In May, I moved into the Department of Finance. When I began my experience at LFUCG I was promised that this was not your stereotypical internship. I have never had to fetch anyone coffee. The work I’ve been doing has been meaningful and productive.

This summer my fellow intern, Jordan Keeton, and I have completed several large projects. In the beginning, our main project was a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Report. TIFs are an economic development tool that is used frequently in Lexington. The success of the 20-page TIF report led to us writing another report on all of LFUCG’s economic development programs. We’ve also worked with preparing transparent apolitical documents relating the recently adopted FY 2017 LFUCG Budget. This includes a pamphlet and a 20 page electronic document for public consumption. It is the hope of the administration that these documents will lead to citizens having a more thorough understanding of LFUCG, the Budget, and the processes behind appropriating these expenditures. Our last large project was creating a new position at LFUCG. During the recent budget cycle the Urban County Council appropriated funds for the creation of an Officer of Diversity and Inclusion and a Workforce Development Grant. Jordan and I researched and contacted many cities who had similar positions. We were tasked with writing the official Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ) that outlines the job requirements and responsibilities, education requirements, and other information for the position.

My day-to-day activities vary depending on what is happening at LFUCG. When Council is in session, I will attend their Committee and Work Session meetings. Because full Council Meetings occur after work hours, the interns are required to attend at least one every summer. In addition to Council related meetings, the interns attend a variety of meetings within the government. There are two main types of meetings that interns attend: board meetings and administrative meetings. The various boards make decisions on very specific issues or projects. These decisions receive final approval from Council. Interns will commonly attend the Economic Development Investment Board meetings. This group administers the Lexington Jobs Fund, an economic development tool that incentivizes job creation in Lexington. The administrative meetings are usually centered on a specific project or policy. These meetings require the coordination of multiple departments and/or divisions in order to address the needs and concerns of the various areas of government. The Department of Finance attends nearly all of these meetings. Finance and the Law Department are the only two departments in government that are truly needed to address every project or policy change. Because of this, interns are able to see the ever changing role that the Department of Finance plays within the LFUCG.

Perhaps the best part of my internship is that it validates my belief that my education at the Martin School is relevant and worthwhile. Firstly, interning at LFUCG has given me the opportunity to see the variety of local government careers that Martin School graduates have pursued. Secondly, I use my education on a daily basis. The projects at my internship sometimes perfectly aligned with my coursework. I put the public finance, budgeting, and economics skills that I’ve learned at the Martin School to work every day. Lastly, I probably wouldn’t have this opportunity if it weren’t for the Martin School. Dr. Eugenia Toma originally connected me to my current supervisor and Martin School alum, Wes Holbrook, and they both encouraged me to apply for the internship. Once I started the internship, I would not have been successful at this internship without the guidance of Lauren Kesselring, recent Martin School alum, who helped show me the ropes and set an excellent example of what a good intern looks like.  

PFM Graduate Certificate FAQs

July 8 Friday 10:30 AM

The Martin School is thrilled to announce we are accepting applications for our NEW Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management! This 12-hour program is offered entirely online! The Martin School has been among the top graduate programs in the nation in public financial management, and we look forward to connecting working professionals around the country with our top-notch curriculum and faculty.

If you are interested in applying, don’t wait! We are only accepting applications until August 19 for fall enrollment. You can read more about the program requirements and how to apply here.


What is a graduate certificate?

While not a full degree program, a graduate certificate offers the student a focused look through graduate-level coursework in a particular specialty topic, setting him or her apart as a burgeoning expert. There are various flavors of graduate certificates—some complement a Master’s degree or professional degree, for example. The Martin School’s Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management is an independent, stand-alone program. It is not a Master’s degree, but indicates to employers that a professional has had a structured, rigorous introduction to principles of public financial management.


Who is this program intended for?

This program is intended for the working professional who may have a few years’ experience in government, non-profit management, or even public sector-adjacent work—perhaps at a private enterprise that has a high level of touch with the public financial management process. Students that would benefit from developing expertise and skills in budgeting, debt management, investment strategy, cash management, accounting, and financial auditing to take the next step in their careers are ideal candidates.


What does a typical class look like?

As a graduate-level program, each class is as rigorous as our in-person courses for degree-seeking students. However, as an online certificate, students should be able to maintain their full-time work and complete coursework at times that are convenient for them. It’s important to emphasize that this is an asynchronous program, meaning there will be due dates throughout a module—our faculty will expect you to have class assignments or prep work to complete every week. A typical class will be 8 weeks long, so students are only taking one course at any given time. The four courses making up the graduate certificate span two semesters, so the program can be completed in one academic year. On a given week, students may interact with their classmates in a forum discussion, read graduate-level material, work on case studies, and submit assignments. Professors will outline expectations and assignments at the outset.

New Program Offering: Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management

July 1 Friday 03:58 PM

We are pleased to announce we will be offering a new, completely online Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management (PFM) program at the Martin School! Professionals across the world can now engage with one of the top programs in the country for public financial management. You can read more about the program offerings here. In the coming days, we will publish a blog post with FAQs about this brand-new, unique offering. Below are a few important highlights!


Who is this program for?

This program is designed for working professionals interested in deepening their understanding and command of public financial management. We expect public servants and those working in "public-adjacent" businesses with a few years' experience under their belts will find this program especially relevant. Since all classes are completed online, students can maintain their current positions while completing coursework along the way.


I am interested! How do I apply?

If you are interested, don't hesitate! The first cohort will begin this fall. Applications are due August 19. The good news is you don't need recommendations or a GRE-- learn more about the application process here. We look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to contact Katie Sanders ( with questions.

Lyons Award Winner Announced

April 25 Monday 07:06 PM

In conjunction with the department of Political Science, we are excited to announce the recipient of the Lyons Award-- Professor Allison Connelly, the James and Mary T. Lassiter Clinical Professor in the College of Law. She will be honored this coming Wednesday at 3 pm on the 18th floor of POT, with a reception to follow. We invite you to celebrate Professor Connelly's contributions to the University and the community!

Read more about Professor Connelly at UK Now.

Capstone Schedule

April 19 Tuesday 03:10 PM

Students and friends! If you are interested in watching our Capstone cohort defend their projects, join us on Thursday! Below is the schedule.

Capstone Defense Schedule - April 21, 2016