Alumna Keeps Local Government Accountable

April 5 Wednesday 02:32 PM

When we think of auditors, what often comes to mind are financial sleuths on the lookout for fraudulent behavior. As an Internal Auditor for the City of Convington, which is situated right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Jenna Skop (MPA ‘13) has a slightly different mission. “I evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of City programs and activities,” she explains, which includes not only reviewing “operations and management practices, identifying areas where inefficiency, risk, or weakness exists,” but also finding potential solutions to these challenges.

One of the things Jenna loves about her job is the opportunity to learn new things. Every year, she plans out the audits she will do. While each audit is unique, all of them require advanced communication skills; she does a lot of writing and public speaking in her role. Between her current and previous work in a similar job in Atlanta, her projects have ranged from public school bond funding, aging programs, public parking, and teacher attrition rates. Jenna looks forward to growing as a program evaluator and auditor—increasing transparency and taxpayer accountability gives her career a meaningful purpose. She learns not just in her everyday operations, but also outside her auditing projects, having recently obtained her Certified Fraud Examiner certification.

When every day is so different, an MPA comes in handy: “The Martin School taught me about government management – how to make decisions and include ethical considerations, how to frame an argument, and the program drilled into me the importance of concise and effective writing skills... Government is about providing a public service, and it is important for staff to provide the best information possible to legislators and decision-makers,” she explains. Current students should also take note—all of those technical financial management concepts won’t just disappear! In previous work in Atlanta, Jenna and her team found old class materials helpful on a project. “I actually broke out the textbook used in the funds management class, so other staff and I could plot out the best ratio analyses for a hybrid balanced scorecard we were compiling!”

In her spare time, Jenna loves spending time with her family and friends. While she might not call herself a “foodie,” she cannot resist trying out all the new hotspots in nearby Cincinnati!

Where Are They Now?

April 3 Monday 12:03 PM

New students quickly learn that the Martin School community extends well past graduation. While alumni can be found all over the world, they stay in touch-- with each other, their favorite faculty members, and even current students. As the spring semester comes to a close and we send a new group of graduates off in to the world, we would like to celebrate our alumni community. We will be posting fresh Alumni Spotlights throughout the month. Until then, check out some of our past revisits with alumni:

We don't have to look very far to find several of our doctoral graduates! Dr. Denison, who is an expert in public and nonprofit financial management, has been a Martin School faculty member since 2005. More recently, Dr. Zimmer has "come home" to the Martin School, serving as our newest Director. Dr. Trautman has also recently joined us as our Director of Public Financial Management program; she's been a wonderful leader for our innovative new online program offerings. And, Dr. Hall has been a visiting professor with us this academic year-- he's also recently been named the Editor-in-Chief of the Public Administration Review.

Our graduates are making a difference in all levels of government, the nonprofit sector, and in private businesses. For instance, Andrew McNeill serves as the Deputy State Budget and Policy Director, while Danielle Clore serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Nonprofit Network. We have a number of graduates in local and federal government, too! You can read some of our past Alumni Spotlights here.

MPA Alumna Leads Development for Local Special Olympics Chapter

March 31 Friday 09:27 AM

Angela (MPA ‘13) doesn’t have a typical day as the Director of Marketing and Fundraising for Special Olympics Hamilton County. As a member of a small team, she often wears many hats—“there is a lot of crossover between the program and development departments,” she says, “Some days I am meeting with corporate partners, other days I am running around a soccer field.” She finds this flexibility refreshing. Many of our graduates, like Angela, don’t just work behind a desk all day.

Angela made the most of her time at the Martin School, which continues to benefit her in a number of ways. As a student, Angela recalls a nonprofit management course taught by Dr. Blanton as particularly valuable, which offered a blend of taught material and hands-on practice in developing a nonprofit plan. On the whole, the curriculum and experiences exposed Angela to the types of tools and analyses public administrators use to make difficult decisions. Our program not only honed her skills, but also gave her “a great group of friends who are always helpful in giving career and life advice!”

In her spare time, Angela stays busy traveling and taking her dogs to the park. We are always so inspired to hear about the great work our students are doing for the public good!

Dr. Agrawal Featured Expert in WalletHub Post

March 16 Thursday 01:18 PM

Dr. David Agrawal, an assistant professor for both the Martin School and the Department of Economics, has been featured in a piece published by WalletHub examining state and local taxes. The post ranks states, but also compares the varying types of taxes across states. The authors then ask a number of experts, including Dr. Agrawal, about how people respond to taxes. It's an interesting read as we approach the deadline to file taxes this year!