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Home > For Students > MPA/MPP Alumni > Alumni in South America

Ana Aguilar

Finding Community Far from Home
ppp Job Title:
Grants Administrator

Lighthouse Communities, Inc.

MPA; Public Management &
Urban Planning; 2006
Grand Valley State University

Home Country:

What do you enjoy about your job? What aspects of your job are the most exciting or interesting?
I enjoy challenge, flexibility and room for creativity. But most importantly, the opportunity to work with a team that aims at making a difference in the community makes my job exciting. This is a relatively small organization with an excellent capacity to make such an impact in the geographic area it serves - southeastern Grand Rapids.

Why did you choose to pursue an MPA/MPP degree?
Several reasons influenced my decisions. First, I have always felt I need to keep myself up to date in the field. I took some doctoral courses in political science at Central University of Venezuela prior to coming to GVSU. But the political circumstances in my country, Venezuela, drove me to make a drastic change. And third, my goal is to eventually run for public office and that requires knowledge of public administration issues, so this was a right choice in the end.

How did you select your graduate school?
I had already applied to other schools in the United States and Canada, because my initial interest was international development. However, the opportunity arose and it just worked out all the way through and I made it to GVSU. I would recommend one research every opportunity available, secure funding and inquire into the place where the school is located. From my experience at GVSU, I have found it incredibly valuable to learn about and interact with the community through school projects, volunteering or internships.

How do you feel your MPA/MPP is helping you to make a difference?
I came into the right organization at the right time. My education and experience here has been an advantage. I know about some of the organizations and the people that drive the day-to-day affairs in the city of Grand Rapids. My academic performance, regardless of any recognition, has always paid off.

How would you characterize your personality?
* Team worker * Good under pressure * Compassionate * Persistent * Organized * Committed * Flexible * Fast-paced * Curious * Detail-oriented * Independent * Diplomatic * Courageous * Analytical *

Contact Ana Aguilar with questions regarding her graduate experience:
Email Ana

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