University at Albany
 

Tina Chang, MPA '14

Hometown: Costa Mesa, CA

Current position: Export Compliance Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce

Received job offer: I received my first job offer from the U.S. Department of State 6 weeks before I graduated from the MPA program.  I then became a 2015 Presidential Management Fellow the following year with the U.S. Department of Commerce in August 2015.
Not only do you get a great education for a competitive price, but the faculty and staff at Rockefeller College genuinely care about their students - even after they graduate. I enrolled in the MPA program because Rockefeller faculty and staff reached out to me and told me about the T-STeP (Training for Security and Terrorism Professionals) fellowship; I obtained my position at the State Department thanks to a personal recommendation from a Rockefeller faculty member. Even after I had already graduated from the program, a professor (whose class I had never been enrolled in) helped me prepare for my new position; another Rockefeller faculty member then helped me prepare my application for the PMF (Presidential Management Fellowship).

In my previous position I took on a variety of responsibilities that ranged from program and financial management to more technical and analytical tasks. In a small team, I helped to create new performance metrics and KPI's, tracked budget allocations, and led a team that revolutionized how the program tracked an activity's life cycle. In addition, I designed and programmed (from scratch) two business development solutions. The first, a new financial management system, was not only a historical repository but also dynamically calculated program funds. The second, was a relational database that program officers used to input annual requirements. The relational database converted this required information, previously recorded in a narrative format, into a quantitative format for statistical analyses. In addition, it also linked to workbooks that tracked various aspects of program activities and automatically generated three different reports and a calculated report of KPI's that the program used for Congressional reporting requirements.

​​In my new position as a PMF, which I received a little over a year after I graduated from Rockefeller, I collaborate with interagency and international partners to enhance U.S. national security and foreign policy by working to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their components, and their means of delivery to peoples and countries of concern. I now work in my desired field and position and have the chance to expand on the research and courses I took as a part of the T-STeP fellowship. In my short time in the federal government, I have used every aspect of my Rockefeller College education - theoretical knowledge from core courses and hard skills from my double concentration - exploring stakeholder perspectives, understanding challenges and solutions of how to liaise with federal and international agencies, facilitating information flow, statistical analyses, relational and networking analyses, and the wonders of Microsoft Excel. Rockefeller was the right choice for me because it helped me network into my field of choice and has ultimately helped me succeed in my career.