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SPAA Graduate Profile: Sakinah Ahmad (EMPA'21)

Sakinah Ahmad (EMPA'21)

Full Name: Sakinah Ahmad 
Age: 31 
Hometown: Newark, NJ 
Degree Program: Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) 
Graduation Year: 2021

Why did you enroll at SPAA?
I enrolled at SPAA because I wanted to take my career in public service to the next level. SPAA is known for its exemplary faculty and I wanted to learn from leaders in this field. Specifically, the EMPA program was the perfect balance where I could apply my professional experience to my learning and elevate it to prepare me for even greater leadership opportunities. 
What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
My ultimate plan is to become an operations consultant. As a consultant, I'll apply what I've learned about government and nonprofit organizations and how they traditionally operate and offer operational shifts. I've learned that great organizations with amazing missions sometimes succumb to inefficient processes and systems. My goal is to help organizations avoid such downfalls, ultimately improving the landscape of public service.  
Favorite SPAA memory?
Joining the inaugural cohort of SPAA Ambassadors was my favorite memory. As an EMPA student being completely online, you can feel disconnected from the larger SPAA community, so being an ambassador gave me that connection and allowed me to play a part in identifying and inspiring the next generation of public service leaders to explore what SPAA has to offer.  
Biggest challenge(s)?
Adjusting to an online format was challenging as I'd never taken any online courses. It took a different type of discipline to balance asynchronous courses, full-time work, and everyday life; however, SPAA did a great job setting up the courses and program, making for a better transition.  
Next steps?
I am pursuing my next opportunity and looking forward to putting all I've learned to use, positively impacting society.  
Advice to incoming students?
Be open to learning, even in unexpected ways. Your classmates or cohort members will enhance your learning and experience if you're open to it. Formulate those relationships and build on each other's experiences to make the most of what SPAA has to offer.