Defying Boundaries

Here in SPEA you can become a master of public affairs, environmental science, and yes, even the arts. We in the Arts Administration program form a small but proud contingent. For the most part we all earned our undergraduate degrees in the performing and visual arts, so we come to SPEA hoping to change the world through the redemptive power of art, culture, and lofty rhetoric (just kidding). And I have to say that although initially we were a bit apprehensive about our place in a school focused on public affairs, I for one feel like being a Speon has given me an irreplaceable opportunity to prepare for a career as a mover and shaker, no matter the field.

Take for example this semester’s docket of courses. Both Management in the Nonprofit Sector and Fund Development for Nonprofit Organizations boast a pretty solid representation from MPAs and MAs. For two semesters now we’ve all been in classes full of colleagues from our own cohort, and of course that has given us the chance to discuss topics in depth with people who share and understand our own interests. But by gathering with those from slightly divergent disciplines to share our knowledge, the discussions have become more varied and people continually voice insights into management, policy, and the nonprofit sector that challenge the way I think about how American society fits together.

There’s something to be said for studying with fellow students who are in the same concentration as you and who begin from a background of common understanding—that’s why I really dig the discussions in my arts administration capstone course, for example. But let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that cross-concentration interactions can be really rewarding. And whether you plan to pursue a career as a museum curator, policy analyst, or nonprofit CEO, you’re going to be doing this sort of thing every day. I feel really fortunate to be able to develop my capacity for collaboration and critical thinking in a supportive and challenging environment.

– Abby

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