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Rockefeller College Graduate is Changing His Game

Professional Football Player to Master's Degree in Public Administration

UAlbany student Matthew Lowney graduates with a master’s degree in public administration from Rockefeller College on Saturday, May 16. He enrolled at the University after a shoulder injury ended his professional football career. (Photo courtesy of Paul Miller)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 13, 2015) – University at Albany graduate student Matthew Lowney had always wanted to play in the NFL. An all-conference offensive lineman at St. John Fisher College, he was scouted by various professional teams, even invited to the NFL Regional Combine. Lowney was chasing his dream.

After graduating in 2011, Lowney signed a contract to play football for the Omaha Beef of the Indoor Football League - one level below the NFL. However, just one month into his first season, Lowney suffered a significant shoulder injury, ending his playing career.

It was time for the Farmington, N.Y. native to shift gears. Lowney had earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher in political science and sociology. He decided to pursue a career in public service, applying to Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs.

“On the field, I took great pride in clearing lanes for running backs and protecting the quarterback from the opposition,” said Lowney. “Pursuing my MPA and eventually a career in public service where I can help people succeed or ensure that they are protected from harm is, I believe, a natural and exciting transition.”

With several top programs to choose from, Lowney selected UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. He enrolled as a full-time student for the fall 2013 semester. Lowney saw UAlbany as an excellent opportunity for a fresh start. Specifically, he decided to attend Rockefeller College for its national recognition, flexibility of curriculum, and tuition costs.

“When comparing it to other top programs, Rockefeller offered me valuable professional experience, at a fraction of the cost,” Lowney said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of the top public administration professors and practitioners in the world.”

Both on and off the football field, Lowney is a natural leader. He is president of UAlbany’s Public Affairs Student Association, an intern at the New York State Department of Health, and an academic standout in the classroom with a 3.97 GPA.

During his third semester of graduate school, Lowney was selected to work as an intern at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C. This prestigious program serves as a launching pad for future public service leaders. Lowney has since returned to UAlbany for his final semester with a job offer in hand from GAO; he’ll be moving to D.C. immediately after graduation.

“In less than two years as a Rockefeller student, I’ve more than doubled the length of my résumé and gained access to opportunities that I never would have considered possible,” Lowney said. “As both a college and professional athlete, I used to study, train and practice to be a game changer on the field. Today, I am confident that my graduate student experiences have given me the tools to play a similar role in the public arena.”

Lowney will graduate at 9 a.m. on May 16 at UAlbany’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony at the Athletics Complex - SEFCU Arena. More than 3,300 students are expected to participate in UAlbany’s 171st commencement ceremonies, Friday, May 15, through Sunday, May 17.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.