Practical knowledge and applied learning is at the core of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the Carsey School of Public Policy. Through her Municipal Management Association of New Hampshire fellowship with the City of Dover, Katharine Labrecque is gaining this knowledge, as well as hands-on experience, in how to create positive change and sustainable community development.
Labrecque enrolled in the MPA program interested in making a career move from the private sector to the public sector. Eager to gain practical experience and grow her network of public service professionals, Labrecque applied for the fellowship after learning about it through her role as a student leader in the Carsey School’s student chapter of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). ICMA is the world’s leading association of professional city and county managers. The student chapter develops programming for students interested in a career in local government, allowing students to gain the tools needed for a successful career in public service.
“The fellowship has expanded my knowledge of local government policies and procedures and exposed me to areas of municipal operations I would not have seen otherwise,” Labrecque says. She saw these operations firsthand during the days she spent shadowing each of Dover’s department heads – a fellowship task organized by UNH alum and Dover City Manager Mike Joyal, MPA’92. “I had the opportunity to drive around in a police cruiser and a fire engine, learn about water and sewer operations, and appreciate recreational management. Lessons from the classroom came to life as I saw the theories behind good public administration applied in a real-world environment,” Labrecque recalls.
She also credits her fellowship with expanding her professional network, which she is confident will be advantageous to her future career. “This opportunity has allowed me to network with public managers, planning professionals and private sector investors who are widely known and respected across the state,” she says. As Labrecque returns to the classroom this fall, she looks forward to reflecting on her fellowship experience and engaging in additional experiential learning activities afforded by the Carsey School.