Student Testimonials

As an Army Acquisition Officer a heightened understanding of the political and public arena will allow me to better perform my duties.  Some of the most significant and helpful things I learned during my time in the JSU MPA program include: organization, writing style, how to research, and commitment.  These attributes not only make me more marketable in the Army, but also more sought-after when I part ways with the military. 

-CPT Kirby Derrick Rice, US Army


My MPA experience has certainly added to my ability to evaluate and understand ideas, think critically, argue concepts, resolve conflict and sometimes, simply agree to disagree without arguing.  I also believe that getting an MPA has helped provide me the ability to see the “bigger picture” associated with the programs I support.  Classes such as Administrative Law, Policy Analysis, Public Finance and Foundations of Public Administration have certainly provided me insight to better understand the big picture.  I have also learned to understand that change is constant and must be embraced.  These skills have allowed me to better adapt in order to lead organizations through changes as they occur instead of being part of the bigger group who waits for direction.  This has helped me contribute to my employers at levels beyond those associated with my positions.  I have been rewarded with additional responsibilities that have allowed me to gain even more valuable experiences and career advancement.  Naturally, the additional career opportunities resulting from these experiences have also added to my salary.

-Steve Downing
Project Manager – National Security Global Business Unit
Battelle Memorial Institute
MPA – 2011


I entered JSU's Master of Public Administration program after working in the field of journalism for a few years.  I had taken only a few political science classes when I began the program in the fall of 2009, but the department's caring faculty along with its practical and enlightening courses prepared me to push my educational goals beyond where I thought I could go.  I am now close to completing my coursework in Auburn's Public Administration/Public Policy doctoral program.  The strong foundation laid at JSU had a great amount to do with my success.

-Brandon Fincher
Administrative Vice President
Graduate Student Council
Auburn University


I knew that the public sector is where I wanted to use my talents. I pursued the MPA degree because I knew that it would help me to have a better understanding of federal, state, local and not-for-profit organizations and structures. The MPA department at Jacksonville State University equipped me with the educational framework to be able to be successful in the public sector. As a non-resident of Alabama, I was welcomed to the University and Department with resources and opportunities that would lead me to my first job post graduation.

My internship at the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, working as graduate assistant with the Department of Housing and Residence Life and alongside guidance from the MPA faculty helped me to solidify my niche in the public sector. Now working as a Project Coordinator, I appreciate the importance of public finance, policy development, conducting research and leadership development as I begin my career.

-Donta Council
Standards for Excellence Coordinator
Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama


I highly recommend Jacksonville State University to any individual looking to earn their Master of Public Administration degree.  Having attended a larger university for my undergraduate work, I really enjoyed the smaller size of the department and the opportunity to work closely with my professors on my coursework and research projects.  The campus has a genuine sense of community, and the faculty members really go the extra mile to see their students succeed.  The MPA program also gave me the flexibility to continue working full time and still finish in two years.  I think that any student that's interested in studying political science and public administration will find the course offerings at JSU to be just what they're looking for!

-Emma Tolbert
Campaign Finance Director
Sewell for Congress


I was in a very successful real state position but wanted to pursue a more fulfilling path. I discovered the MPA program at JSU. The course work was rigorous and challenging, yet it fully prepared me for a new career in government relations.

The professors brought to the classroom, care and concern for their students' success, along with a plethora of real-world experience that linked learning to practical application.  

I am proud to be a JSU MPA graduate!

-Jana Cordell


Attending JSU for studies towards my Master's in Public Administration was an exciting opportunity for me! I had just graduated and received my undergraduate degree and headed to Jacksonville with excitement, motivation and an expectation of excellence from the program.  I was met with nothing less!  My professors were the leaders in their field who took a personal interest in each of their students.  This was a surprise for me at such a big university!  I was able to speak with my professors during their office hours with any concerns I had regarding their course.

The classes offered were classes that I thought were not only appropriate to my major but also to me personally.  Overall, I think the decision to get my MPA through JSU was a great one and I'm glad to say I've received my degree through them!

-La Dawn Thomas