Master of Public Administration student reflects on her experience with the Voinovich School

Emily Delaney
April 27, 2017

Anna-Kaye RoweObtaining dual master’s degrees in public administration, and communications and development studies has been no simple feat, but for Anna-Kaye Rowe it has been incredibly gratifying.

“I really appreciate the program and I think I made an excellent decision in choosing to pursue a dual masters with the Voinovich School,” Rowe, who will receive her diplomas April 28, 2017, said. “I feel fulfilled. It doesn’t feel like too much work; it’s not busy work. It’s work that will make me more marketable and prepared for the world of work.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in media and communications from the University of the West Indies in 2009, Rowe worked in the nonprofit sector in her home country of Jamaica. She centered her work on youth, children and gender, three areas she continues to focus on today.

“I really enjoyed those jobs and they gave me the opportunity to be very hands-on in communities and to do projects that really make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

Rowe knew that she wanted to further her education outside of Jamaica. A friend who was already pursuing her master’s in communication and development studies at Ohio University emphasized the school’s international, diverse campus, something that immediately appealed to her. She researched various universities, but applied to just one: Ohio University.

She applied for the master’s in communications and development studies program, unaware that a dual degree was an option. It was a path she discovered by chance while searching for courses during the first year of her graduate studies.

“I’ve always had an interest in social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility and program development,” Rowe said. “Those were courses that were not being offered by my current program.”

Rowe signed up for two courses at the Voinovich School during the fall semester of her second year and loved them. After speaking with a colleague who was completing the MPA program in one year, Rowe was encouraged to explore the program. She reached out to Dr. Jason Jolley, the MPA program director, and took the first steps toward obtaining her second master’s degree.

“I find more and more students are pursuing dual master’s degrees now and I think a lot of programs are being very flexible in providing that opportunity where you don’t have to spend an additional two years. You can integrate it into your current program,” Rowe said.

Rowe is active in the University outside the classroom. As the graduate assistant in the Women’s Center, she coordinates the women’s mentoring program. This program — open to sophomores, juniors and seniors at Ohio University — pairs women undergraduates with female mentors in their personal and professional fields of interest. She also served on Graduate Student Senate for two years as International Affairs Commissioner.

She has been active in the larger community as well, having interned with United Campus Ministries for one year and with the Athens Foundation. At the foundation, Rowe is applying her MPA coursework by examining the organization’s effectiveness. “I’m getting to do research. I’m looking at their community leadership and the impact they’re having in the Athens County. And I’m using the qualitative research skills that I’m learning in my class with Dr. Holly Raffle,” she said. “So things are really intersecting. I’m now able to practice what I’ve been learning.”

“By having the foresight and initiative to combine her internship activities with her academic course work, Anna-Kaye capitalized on what we do best here at the Voinovich School: providing students with unique learning opportunities and real-world experiences in preparation for careers in the government and nonprofit sectors,” Dr. Holly Raffle, Voinovich School Associate Professor, said.

Throughout her time in Athens, Rowe has found that her experience has been meaningful and the MPA program has given her invaluable skills.

“I forever say that the school is like a hidden gem – literally because it’s all the way at The Ridges,” Rowe said. “A lot of people don’t know about the Voinovich School and that the school houses two master’s programs.”