“Making an Impact” – by Michelle Stevens


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Like a majority of students, I entered college without a clear vision of
my future career. I wanted a career where I could work with people and

positively affect society, which drew me to explore public

administration. My first public administration class at the University

of Kansas introduced me to a career in local government. A City Manager

and KU Masters in Public Administration alum spoke to my class regarding

a City Manager’s role in local government. He also discussed the

challenges facing his community and the steps the City had taken to

address the challenges. Realizing I had a passion for the same nature of

work, I chose to explore the local government path in the public

sector. With the help of my advisors, I obtained an internship with the

City Manager’s Office in Lawrence, Kansas in March of 2009.

My internship at the City of Lawrence has been incredible in many ways.

Everyday presents new challenges and lessons to be learned. My mentors

at the City of Lawrence are teaching me what it means to be responsive

to the elected officials while exposing me to a variety of projects with

different departments. Witnessing the amount of work, the number of

people, and the dedication that it takes deliver basic city services

effectively and efficiently has been eye opening. Whether it has been

working with citizen groups to revamp the Santa Fe Station or the

Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission to advance arts in the Lawrence area

or gathering comparative data, my work at the city has been both

challenging and rewarding. I have been working there for a little over a

year now and I am excited to go to work everyday.

I recently graduated from the University of Kansas in three and a half

years with a Bachelor of General Studies in Public Administration. My

overall GPA was a 3.71, with a 3.91 in Public Administration. I am also a

member of the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honors Society: Nu Epsilon

Chapter. My academic record reflects my dedication to education as well

as my ability to set goals and achieve them.

I have come to realize that public service is my calling. My ultimate

career goal is to be a City Manager. While I have gained valuable

knowledge and experience thus far, I realize I have much more to learn. I

have been accepted into the City and County Leadership Masters in

Public Administration program at the University of Kansas.

Through my education at the University of Kansas and my internship with

the City of Lawrence, I have found my passion in public service, which

to me is about having a direct, positive impact on society. Local

government management is unique because the effects of your

organization’s work can be seen everyday in your local community. I am

eager to continue working in local government and learning on a deeper

level what it means to be a public servant.

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Profile Photo Scott Wagner

A great essay. A career in public service allows you to make lots of impacts on people’s lives and the life of an organization. Not all people are called to such a career. Michelle will make a great public servant.

Profile Photo Diane Trybom

No. 20 – “Making and Impact”

Michelle’s dedication, in all aspects of her life, is outstanding and at some point in her life, will make some lucky City, a great City Manager.

Profile Photo Linda M Finger

I cast my vote for Essay No 20. There are other good essays posted, but what Michelle says resonates with my 32 years of public service. With the aging of employees in the public sector, it could use an infusion of young people who have a “passion” for public service!

Profile Photo Charlie Bryan

Michelle, your enthusiasm is inspiring. I’m glad you’ve committed to a career in local government management. Best of luck in this essay/scholarship contest.

Profile Photo Michelle Stevens

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for your votes and support. However, I found out that the votes on this page do not count. Can you please vote on the main discussion board?

Thanks again,