MPA Student Reflects on Impact of Internship at BGADD
Logan Hart is a part-time MPA student beginning his second year in the Martin School.
When Logan first entered the Martin School, he was torn between pursuing the MPA or MPP degree. He ultimately chose the MPA with a concentration in public financial management because of its relevance in his daily duties at Bluegrass Area Development District. His internship experience is unique because he was hired as an intern in his first semester of graduate school, instead of the summer after his first year, and became a full-time employee after his internship expired.
Logan describes BGADD as an "organization that acts as an extension of the staff for city and county governments around Lexington. With many of the cities and counties being relatively small, they sometimes lack the resources and employees to pursue a lot of the projects and do a lot of the work that they have to do. They collectively pay dues to the ADD and, as a result, we work for them on various projects." He works in the community planning department as, primarily, a grant writer who helps the city and county governments apply for funding for various economic development and infrastructure projects.
When asked what his favorite project he's worked on has been, Logan says "The most interesting projects have been those that have centered on broadband expansion. One project involved applying for grants to improve broadband coverage maps. In order to apply for these grants, they have to meet certain qualifications of being unserved or underserved as determined by the FCC. Although these grants were relatively small dollar amounts, broadband access has become as necessary as water, sewage, or road maintenance to the infrastructure in today's society." The FCC's maps can be very inaccurate due to the way in which they gather data. Logan helped these counties contest the FCC's maps by assisting them in applying for grant money to pay an outside agency to compile data and help create a more accurate map of those who are unserved or underserved.
Finally, he discussed how his internship and job have impacted his goals and perspective. "I get to interact with judges, mayors, and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. This job has been very good for networking and trying to find a future career and learn what other people are doing, because most of your elected officials don't work full-time for the government and it's great to learn more about what they do in their other jobs. The longer I've been at Bluegrass ADD, the more I've come to appreciate local and state government and the people in the lower levels of government that a lot of people don't hear or think much about on a daily basis."