Rock Your Career: Anna Weiskopf, MPA '21
Anna Weiskopf, MPA '21 secured a position as a Research Coordinator at Columbia University upon graduation from Rockefeller College. Learn more about how her internship experiences and coursework prepared her for the next step in her career.
What was one of the most meaningful experiences you had during your time in the MPA program?
One of the most meaningful experiences I had during the MPA program was Welcome Week. Welcome Week provided me with an opportunity to meet my cohort, work collaboratively with a team, practice my public speaking skills, and build meaningful friendships that lasted throughout my time in the program.
Where did you complete your internship requirement and what knowledge, skills and abilities did you develop as a result of this experience?
I completed my internship requirement at the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Throughout this experience, I learned how to track and monitor different state and federal policies related to disabilities; contributed to different projects around grant/funding opportunities; researched and synthesized information around important disability topics relevant to project development; highlighted trends, needs, and barriers; and reviewed and coded qualitative data collected to support the creation of the agencies five-year strategic plan.
What specific skills or experiences through the program have prepared you for your transition to post-graduate employment?
Two of the most valuable skills that I have learned throughout the program that have helped prepare me for my transition to post-graduate employment would be learning how to use Microsoft Excel and learning how to write a memo. Staying organized is important in a job when you have to balance competing projects. Knowing how to use Excel to keep either yourself or your data organized has been a key skill that has set me up for success. Further, being able to share information is an easy-to-read manner that can convey dense information in a high-level way is essential in almost any job.
Where are you currently employed and what is the focus of your position?
I am currently employed at Columbia University working on a grant that uses evidence-based interventions to reduce opioid overdose deaths across New York State. I primarily assist in the development of the study’s projects including staff trainings, communication campaigns, and research efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. I also facilitate communication and data management with academic study partners, governmental agencies, and community partners around program activities.
What advice do you have for students who are considering employment in the public sector and pursuing an MPA degree?
One piece of advice I would give to students who are considering employment in the public sector and pursuing an MPA degree would be to pursue internships to make sure that this is the type of work you find rewording and fulfilling. Once someone enters the MPA program, I would highly recommend utilizing the career services office. They do a phenomenal job preparing students for employment through resume reviews, mock interviews, career fairs, and internship/job events.