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MPA Interns reflect on their experiences at the ICMA conference

For four days each fall, intern-track students in the Master of Public Administration program attend the International City/County Management Association's annual conference. This year, the students headed to Boston, Massachusetts on September 22-25, along with members of the School of Public Affairs and Administration staff and faculty. Participants included members of the MPA class of 2012 - 2014, along with members of the class of 2013 - 2015.

The MPA program (intern track) is structured such that students begin their coursework in the summer, complete course requirements over three semesters (summer, fall and spring), then secure a full-time, paid internship in local government during their second year in the program (fall and spring semesters). As part of their program requirements, students attend three professional development seminars during the second year of their program, including ICMA. Students graduate at the end of their second year, following successful completion of their internship. The program is geared toward students who want to pursue their MPA on a full-time basis, and whose career goal is to become an administrator at the local government level.

The School also offers a career-track MPA, which is geared toward working professionals.

At ICMA, the students are given the opportunity to interact with alumni, practitioners and faculty alike and attend professional development sessions that broaden their understanding of local government administration. Students in their first year of the program are also given the assignment to interview city or county administrators.

"The ICMA conference in Boston was an incredible opportunity to get motivated, learn about the profession from veterans of the field, and network with our future bosses and colleagues. Certainly, this experience will prove invaluable as we navigate through the rest of our on-campus semester and venture into the world of public administration." - Travis Machalek, MPA Class of 2015 (from Laramie, Wyoming)

"ICMA was one of the best experiences of my life! In particular, I really enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and interview two city/county managers as a part of our duties while in Boston. The insight and knowledge I gained from some of the best in the field is something that I will carry with me for a long time to come!" – Alley Williams, MPA Class of 2015 (from Overland Park, Kansas).

"In the day-to-day grind of graduate school, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. Events like ICMA are important reminders of what we're working towards and the KUCIMAT family of which we are a part." – Kevin Smith, MPA Class of 2015, from Dekalb, Illinois).

First-year interns attend the conference with support from the School's alumni organization, KUCIMATs. Second-year students travel to the conference from internship locations across the United States.

A highlight of the ICMA conference each year is the KUCIMAT banquet, which was attended by 150 people. The banquet brings together students and MPA alumni from across the country.

"When I started the KU MPA program I heard a lot about the KUCIMAT nation. It was not until Boston, at the KUCIMAT banquet, that I really understood what that meant. Members of this nation share similar values and strive to make a difference in their communities and change the lives of those they encounter. Thank you for making me understand what this nation is all about. I am humbled and honored to be part of the KUCIMAT family." – Barack Matite, MPA Class of 2015 (originally from Kenya).

"I was drawn to the KU MPA program for many reasons, but I chose it because of the incredible alumni dedication to making us feel welcome and excited in those first few weeks after admittance. Attending ICMA and seeing that those bonds run deep and are long-lasting reinforces my decision! It's inspiring to be among a group of individuals committed to not only public service excellence, but a steadfast set of values. I now understand what it means to be a KUCIMAT." - Kirsten Silveira, MPA Class of 2015 (from Colorado Springs, Colorado).

The 2014 ICMA conference will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the 2015 conference will be held in Kansas City, Missouri. Look for more information on our website in late summer, including information on how to register for the KUCIMAT banquet.

ROTATOR PHOTO: (left to right): Kyler Ludwig, Travis Elliott, Jeff Robbins, and Dylan Mulfinger at the Christian Science Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts. Kyler is currently interning with the City of Goddard, Kansas. Travis Elliott is an intern with the City of Aspen, Colorado. Jeff Robbins is interning in Sedgewick County, Kansas. Dylan Mulfinger is interning with Osawatomie, Iowa. All four are members of the 2012 - 2014 intern-track MPA program.

For more information about the Master of Public Administration degree, visit the degree section of our website.

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