SPAA Graduate Profile: Diana P. Negron (MPA'19)
Full Name: Diana P. Negron
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Degree Program: Master of Public Administration
Why did you enroll at SPAA?
My inner passion for public service fuels me, and SPAA has allowed me to immerse myself at the intersections of policy, government, and technology. The faculty challenges you to think outside the box, and I am always up for a challenge. The School of Public Affairs and Administration is an amalgamation of excellence, integrity, and civic engagement.
What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
I hope that with my degree I can inspire other minority women to be the most excellent version of ourselves. We strive for perfection, but perfectionism has no measurement or quantification of growth. Excellence demands more. It requires us to be smarter, try harder, and take risks. With my degree, I want to serve and help the underserved and underrepresented communities at the local, state, or federal level. I hope I can represent the stories, voices, and concerns of the marginalized, and with my MPA degree, I know I can do just that.
Favorite SPAA memory?
I have a wide range of interests and can sometimes go on a tangent about a wide variety of topics. Some of my favorite memories are discussing ideas and issues with both faculty and staff. They never cease to amaze me with their thinking and diligence. The faculty truly has helped light my inner fire as a researcher and cultivated an open environment that is welcoming to the exchange of ideas.
The biggest challenge for me so far has been burnout. I want to do everything that I possibly can, but I am learning the art of patience and timing. Burnout exerts you both physically and mentally, and at times you need to slow down. There's overwhelming societal pressure to be at a faster pace for everything in life, but sometimes you have to slow down and soak it all in. We have to build our lives purposefully and beautifully.
I will be immersing myself in data science, policy analysis, and some fun reading. I have multiple books on feminism that I have to catch up on, and some fun poetry reads! I will be continuing my work for the City of Newark and will then be pursuing a PhD by Fall 2020. I will be studying the intersections of economic mobility, equity, social policy, and innovation in government. The federal sector has piqued my interest significantly, however, I am attracted to the direct impact that occurs at the local level. In a few years, I will hopefully serve in local government as a Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Information/Technology Officer (speaking this into existence!).
Advice to incoming students?
You get as much out of your degree as much as you put in. Look for opportunities, and if they are not there, create them for yourself. If you are interested in a professor's research, ask how you can assist or discuss your similar interests. Graduate school is hard, and it will test your intellectual limits, the community you create for yourself is crucial to your development as both a student and human. Cultivate emotional intelligence among one another and seek to understand perspectives different from yours. This will make you not only a better student but also a better public administrator. Be kind, listen, and remember there is always room to learn more and do better.