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Humans of the U: Jasmine Walton

“I earned my bachelor’s degree from the U in 2017 and the following year I began working at NeighborWorks Salt Lake City as a community engagement coordinator. Later, I became the director of community initiatives and operations. At NeighborWorks, we work with University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) on a variety of initiatives, including the Westside Leadership Institute.

Through the institute, I met Jesus Valero, who teaches in public administration at the U. I have known him for a few years now, and during that time, he encouraged me to me to apply for a master’s program. I went back and forth on a couple of options, but ultimately, I decided on the Executive Master of Public Administration program or ExMPA.

Through the ExMPA, I feel like I learned how to be a scholar. I learned how to critically look at things and to come up with a plan to move forward. The program also showed me that I really liked presenting information and being part of open discussions and dialogues. I enjoyed this so much, that I think I want teaching to be a part of what I do next. I don’t want to go tenure track or anything like that, but I would like to teach a few classes a semester.

I want to be an agent for change, and I think the master’s degree I earned is really going to help me be able to take the next steps I need to advance my career. There are a lot of paths I could take, but I want to go wherever I’m able to make an impact.

The master’s program helped me fill the knowledge gaps I had in relation to the work I was already engaged in. I feel like I am now better able to articulate things that are happening. I also have more strategies on how to move the work forward, deal with difficult situations, navigate systems, and address organizational change and culture. Because of my degree, I have skills in my toolbox I did not have before.”

— Jasmine Walton, Executive Master of Public Administration ’24