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Jennifer Messana is a graduate student pursuing a Master in Public Administration with a State and Local Government focus. Originally from Columbus, Michigan Jennifer has returned to her alma mater to continue her education. Jennifer is involved at many levels in the University. Along with her studies, she is a Graduate Assistant with Career & Student Employment Services (CSES) for the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences (CEAS). She is also a Representative for the Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) representing the School of Public Affairs & Administration. In addition to these duties she was also recently elected as the Employment Concerns Chair for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) in Washington, DC.
"While at the NAGPS National conference in Seattle, WA- elections were held to fill positions on the Executive Board. One committee position open and slated for removal was Employment Concern Chair. After completing my bachelors degree, I worked full-time in CSES at WMU for 4 years and am very passionate about student employment concerns. So when I heard that NAGPS was going to eliminate this role I argued to keep it. I then ran for this seat on the board and was elected. I am now currently working on "re-working" the role and hope to address and impact employment concerns for graduate students across the nation. As part of my new Board position, I just recently returned from Washington, D.C. where NAGPS reps "lobbied" or educated Senators and Representatives about current bills and graduate student issues such as the HEAEA the Higher Education Affordability and Equity Act"
Jennifer Messana at the NAGPS conference in Seattle
"When I am finished with my MPA, I am heading back to my home in Columbus and to my very supportive family including my partner and dog who are patiently waiting for me to complete my degree. After that I can see myself working for the State of Michigan, in a local government capacity, or maybe back to my roots in higher education. "
We asked Jennifer why she chose to return to WMU to pursue her goals:
"I am an alumn, Sociology BA, 2000. I have lived and worked in the Kalamazoo area for over 10 years. I started my first full-time job here are WMU, I purchased my first house here, found my dog here, found myself here. Kalamazoo was "my" first home, it seemed only natural to come back to WMU to start this next chapter in my life. In terms of my program and returning to continue my education, WMU is renown for it's Public Administration program and quality education. I started the MPA program while working full time for WMU and the program was flexible enough to allow me to pursue my professional and academic goals. So, when I decided at 30 (after leaving Kalamazoo for work pursuits) that I needed to complete my degree to be competitive in today's job market, WMU was the first, and best choice for me. So, with the support of my family, I packed my things, left Columbus, and headed nearly 200 miles west to Kalamazoo to become a full-time graduate student."