University at Albany

"I love Rockefeller!"

Tina Chang, MA '12, MPA Class of 2014

Concentrations: Homeland Security/Information Strategy & Management

(At left) Tina Chang and NCSP student assistant
Lori Swift practice applying tourniquets as part of
an EMS special situations course at the New York
State Preparedness Training Center, July 2013.

Why did you choose homeland security as a concentration?

Tina:  I've always had aspirations to work at the federal level in homeland security.

What opportunities have you had at Rockefeller College?

Tina:  I've had several academic, professional networking and internship opportunities at Rockefeller. First, I was lucky enough to be selected as one of three students for the Training for Security and Terrorism Professionals Fellowship (T-STeP) here at Rockefeller College in 2013. Professor Victor Asal, a political science professor at Rockefeller, and Kara Pangburn, the school's director of graduate recruitment and admissions, told me about the opportunity and helped me to prepare my application package. Currently, as part of my fellowship, I work with Professor Kathleen Deloughery in the Department of Public Administration researching what factors increase the likelihood of U.S. foreign interests being targeted for a terrorist attack. I presented the study's initial findings at two academic conferences in Washington D.C. this past year — the Association for Public Policy & Management (APPAM) fall conference and the International Studies Association ISSS-ISAC Joint Annual Conference.

Tina Chang will complete her
Master of Public Administration
degree in May 2014.
In addition, I concurrently worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at Rockefeller College's National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP). NCSP designs homeland security training programs for first responders to improve response and recovery to highly consequential natural disasters and terrorist attacks. In my final semester this spring, I will be working as an intern in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Executive Chamber. I'll be researching rules and regulations and analyzing program effectiveness. The internship will provide me with several additional opportunities to network and observe the interaction between state and federal organizations.

Rockefeller College also offers lots of opportunities for students to network with professionals in their field throughout the year. Jen Maclaughlin, director of internships and career programs, puts together a speed networking event annually to help students learn more about organizations in the Capital Region. I had the chance to participate in this event when I was a student in the School of Criminal Justice at UAlbany. It's an event that is well attended because Rockefeller alumni stay involved and invested in the school and because the school is located in the capital of New York State, which is home to the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, NCSP, FBI, and DEA — organizations that provide internships and employment for a number of Rockefeller students and alumni. For this reason, Rockefeller students have plenty of opportunities to find internships and network.

What are your future plans?

Tina:  I would like to work as a program or policy analyst for the federal government. My work with Professor Deloughery as a part of my T-STeP fellowship and coursework has demonstrated that a balance of quantitative and qualitative analysis is necessary for homeland security policies and U.S. foreign policies.

How has Rockefeller prepared you to be successful in that career?

Tina:  Rockefeller graduates are unique because we are educated in both quantitative and qualitative analysis. In addition, the professors have helped me tremendously. They have not only offered me valuable advice, but have also helped me to contact professionals in my field of interest for informational interviews. One faculty member even recently put me in contact with a colleague in Washington D.C. to help me apply for a position.

What are the top reasons you'd tell a prospective MPA student to choose
Rockefeller College?

Tina:  Proximity to state government agencies, the quality of the program, and the Rockefeller staff and faculty. The latter truly care about the students and their future success. Rockefeller is a top-ranked program AND it's affordable. To top it all off, working in the capital city of New York State offers incredible internship and networking opportunities. I love Rockefeller!