Graduate Profile: Xiomara Quiles (MPA '17)

Hometown: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Degree program: Master of Public Administration
Major or concentration: Leadership in Public Organizations

Why did you enroll at SPAA?
As part of my career development, professors and family members encouraged me to evaluate several options in the process of selecting graduate schools. From the beginning, I established a set of criteria when choosing which would be the school that fulfills my goals and ambitions. Some of the criteria that I considered important at the time of selecting a school were the academic excellence, ethical core values and the competency in the program of public administration, and the campus facilities. I was interested in a program that would structure and strengthen my leadership skills and goals. Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) is ranked and considered one of the top schools in the United States of America. The academic curriculum from SPAA has everything that I want to learn and embrace in my professional career. Another fascinating aspect that the school has is the ethnic diversity. I wanted to be part of multicultural alumni so that I can grow and learn from other peers, countries, and cultures.

What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
I want to grow as an exceptional human being - willing to help others and solving administrative problems that cause many problems for the people. I have a deep commitment to constantly educating myself, exude responsibility, and to serve my country. Puerto Rican students have much to offer, and opportunities like these are essential for academic and professional development. My goal is to help Puerto Rico: establish ethical core values and the best public administration practices, reshape government credibility, and to give back the respect that the people deserve. I am going to become an elected governor of Puerto Rico at some point in my life. I know that this sounds very ambitious at my age but I believe that this is my purpose and my calling from the inside out.

Best moments at Rutgers University-Newark?
Being elected as the vice-president of the Public Administration Graduate Association was an honor to me and one of my best moments. 

Favorite class(es) and professor(s)?
I really enjoy my concentration classes with Judge Tiffany Williams. I have learned the theory and practical applications from courses such as my "Leadership and Diversity" course and the "Intergovernmental Relations" course. The professor always makes us walk away from our comfort zone and bring us to the spotlight. She makes you feel proud of yourself, competent, efficient and prepared for your future job. It was more than a course it was an experience. Professor Williams is a passionate and dedicated public servant, very fair and inclusive in her teachings. I am very grateful for her contribution to my future.     

Biggest challenge?
To be honest, everything is a challenge at graduate degree level. However, my biggest sacrifice was being far away from home.

Next steps?
Hopefully, I will be working in the public-sector area implementing my academic skills in real life for the next year or two years if necessary. After the experience of work, I will be completing my PhD applications to complete my last academic goal.  

Advice to incoming students?
Enjoy this new phase of your academic and professional life. The undergraduate experience is full of dreams and mistakes, but the graduate degree level is full of structural desires, commitment and hopes. You are not just a graduate student, you are an asset for future generations and SPAA is preparing citizens to run this wonderful country. Don’t forget a cup a coffee for your late nights and long readings.

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