The flexibility of the MPA program has allowed Slovakia native Lucia Esposito the opportunity to pursue her degree while working full-time and starting a family.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Commencement 2012 profile: Lucia EspositoTweet
Over the past three years, Lucia Esposito managed a full-time job, a young son and various public service projects, will earn a Master in Public Administration degree and ran her first 5K race.
“I think I’m just a very determined type of person,” Esposito said. “If I like doing something, I commit to it fully, and I don’t like slacking.”
Esposito is also the recipient of the MPA program’s award for a graduating practitioner.
“We felt that more than anybody else in the program, she really went above and beyond what a typical practitioner student would do,” said Pamela Mischen, assistant professor and director of the Center for Applied Community Research and Development.
Esposito said the flexibility of the MPA program, with night classes at the University Downtown Center, allowed her to manage working full-time and starting a family while earning her degree.
“I could take all the necessary classes to graduate and I could do it in the evening, as a working student, so that was really beneficial,” she said.
Esposito will have worked for the Broome County Office for Aging for six years in October. She said she chose the public administration program because a former student interned at her office and told her about it.
“She shared some interesting information with me about the program, and I thought it would be very helpful to my career, being that I work for a local government agency and I would like to continue to work in the public sector,” she said.
During her time in the program, Esposito worked on several projects with Mischen. She did a service-learning project for the Broome County Gang Prevention program and helped organize a series of workshops for local non-profit organizations.
Esposito volunteered to continue to help the Broome County Gang Prevention program. She said the program is geared toward kids at risk of being involved in gang activity and it involves them in afterschool activities or sports. She designed a survey to evaluate whether the program had an impact on the children enrolled.
Organizing the series of workshops involved looking at literature and deciding what to teach the non-profit organizations. Esposito said they tailored the program to specific organizations and their individual needs.
“I really enjoyed having that impact on specific people,” she said.
Mischen said the idea for the workshops came out of discussions the two of them had.
“She was really critical in identifying the need for that project and moving it forward,” she said.
Esposito came to the United States after earning her first master’s degree at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2004. Seeing her parents serve the public working for the government in Slovakia had an impact on her own career choice.
“I look back to when I first moved here, and it was really challenging for me,” she said.
The Public Administration program, however, has helped her connect with the community.
“I think being able to get into this program kind of connected me more to this community and gave me a purpose for being here,” Esposito said. “I feel like if I didn’t do it, I would still be searching for something.
“I like the community more and I know more about it and working for a local government agency, I feel like I have more of a connection to the community,” she said.
After all of her hard work, Esposito celebrated her upcoming graduation by running her first 5K race. But now, she isn’t entirely sure what’s next. She might consider going back to school in a year.
“I’m going to miss going to school,” she said.