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Photo by Kelly Krivicich

2011 MPA Capstone Event

Adam Wagner
June 10, 2011

Eight groups of Ohio University Masters of Public Administration (MPA) candidates have completed their first year in the program, topping it off with an annual event where they presented their applied work and reflected back on the year that was.

One of the graduation requirements for OU MPA’s is a yearlong Applied Learning Practicum experience (LPA 692), or hands-on, project designed to help student’s link theory in the classroom to practice in the field as well as develop an understanding of the real world work in the public sector.  At the end of each year, the MPA candidates present their year’s work at a capstone event assigned as part of the class which is entirely planned and delivered by the students.

Amanda Janice, who was co-chair of the capstone committee, said the event “really helped me develop leadership qualities and abilities and really evaluate how I act as a leader.”

Part of leading the capstone committee was delegating specific tasks.

Janice said, “I’ve really gotten to hone my organizational abilities … myself and my co-chair got to spearhead the group and coordinator meetings, and we delegated [tasks] to the different groups and it was definitely a learning experience.”

For her practicum project, Janice worked as Passion Works Studio’s Volunteer Coordinator, revising the Volunteer Coordinator Handbook, scheduling and performing the orientations for incoming volunteers and managing e-mail inquiries from potential volunteers. Along with Laura Custer, an undergraduate studying business and finance, she helped develop presentation materials for community outreach, developed an evaluation form for volunteers and carried out a cost benefit analysis to measure the value of the volunteer program at Passion Works.

“I think the most beneficial thing for me, especially when it comes to applying what I’ve been learning in class to the practicum itself, is really the evaluative component,” Janice said. “Developing the survey, developing the scripts for focus groups … really connected what I learned in research methods to what we were actually doing in the project.”

Janice’s ability to relate what she learned in class to the organization she was working with was on display through the presentations.

“I just think the capstone project in and of itself was a phenomenal experience,” Janice said. “It was a lot to start, but it really made us hit the ground running and it was just kind of awesome.”