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SPAA Graduate Profile: Dyaa Terpstra (BA'21, MPA'22)

Dyaa Terpstra (BA'21, MPA'22)

Name: Dyaa Terpstra 
Age: 23
Hometown: Jefferson Township
SPAA BA Grad Month/Year: May 2021 
SPAA MPA Grad Month/Year: December 2022 (Walk May 2023) 
MPA Concentration: Budgeting and Financial Management
Current Position: Operations Coordinator, CAIR-NJ

Why did you enroll at SPAA?
I was studying political science and after exploring classes and experiences I decided I didn’t want to go to law school, be a political scientist/academic, or work in politics, but I was always inclined toward public service. I thought I wanted to be someone who gets things done with no drama. There was SPAA! I transferred in, continued political science as a second major and took advantage of the accelerated MPA program. 

What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
To be someone of benefit to society as comprehensive planners and administrators are needed to identify and execute solutions, both big and small. Most public policy impact on people is derived from the executive branch trying to make legislation work. My goal was to work in state government and rise to a level to make change. Some of my concentration professors opened the idea of local government for me, but maybe I’ll stay in nonprofits! 

Favorite SPAA memory and/or most meaningful experience at SPAA?
The academic background and approach yet goofiness of the very wide SPAA faculty. 

Biggest challenge(s)?
Quantitative classes in the MPA program like statistics and economics for public service that are not just hard because there is math, but because my views were challenged and forced to evolve. Our initial reaction or answer to a problem is not always the best and may cause damage. We must be aware of this if we are to work in public service. 

Next steps?
Continue as a school board member in my hometown and help grow the organization I work for.  

Advice to incoming students?
SPAA is the place if you want to be among those who get things done. Do good work in government or find a vacuum that the government or the private sector cannot address and do it!