Fletcher Smith

Current Role: 
Staff Assistant, Department of State

What was your motivation or goal that prompted you to research and begin your degree program?
The desire to advance my career is what prompted me to begin the program. I realized that without a graduate degree, I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted. Not only is the credential a huge step-up, but the skills I’m developing in the program are readily applicable to the work I want to do in the federal government. 

Briefly summarize how you would describe the program and your experience thus far to a potential student. What’s the programs biggest strength?
The program is an excellent introduction into both how U.S. government works, and how to craft successful policies within that framework. The classes are well- constructed and organized – progressing in a way that allows students to see how different ideas intersect, and laying a strong foundation for future work.

The flexibility of the online program is perfect for working professionals looking to hone their skill set or advance their careers. It accommodates busy schedules without sacrificing academic rigor. You get to work with first-rate professors, who are not only excellent scholars but also superb teachers.

What made American University the obvious choice as opposed to other higher-education institutions for you?
American University is a well-regarded school with strong online Master’s Programs. For someone who couldn’t feasibly make it to a classroom but still wanted a first-rate education, American was an obvious choice.

Has the program assisted in your current role? If so, what courses did you find most helpful? What are the most valuable skills you learned?
The Introduction to the Policy Analysis Process equipped me not only with tools of the policy analysis trade, but with generally applicable problem-solving skills. Working through the analytic process in a rigorous, hands-on way has made me better prepared for the challenges I confront daily in my job.

How did the faculty keep the curriculum current?
The teachers regularly employ real-life news stories into the course, challenging us to apply the skills we’ve learned in the course – sometimes prompting discussion of same-day events.

What have you gained from the communication with your peers online?
Working with my peers gives me a different perspective on a lot of issues. This is especially true of an online program because the students both come from and live all over.

To learn more about American University’s online Master of Public Administration and Policy, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.