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Christa Brown (MPA ’17)

Christa Brown

Prior degree received:
B.A., University of San Francisco

Most recent position:
Director, SparkPoint, United Way of the Bay Area

Current professional experience
“I've spent the majority of my career focused on Bay-Area anti-poverty programs. Prior to joining the Goldman School I worked at United Way of the Bay Area as the Director of the SparkPoint Initiative. SparkPoint brings nonprofits across the Bay Area together to serve thousands of low-income families a year, working with them to build assets, return to school and move-up the economic ladder.

I currently work with the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, a division of the Treasurer's Office, to work with the San Francisco-wide summer jobs program, ensuring youth who are receiving their first paycheck also have access to the financial mainstream.”

Learning in an environment that values both knowledge and application of the work
“The Goldman School is one of the only programs I've seen that balances strong technical skills with real-world experience. I knew I wanted to learn in an environment that valued not just the knowledge but also the application of the work. I've definitely found that at GSPP- the faculty have a diverse range of both expertise and experience, and have led businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies.

When I looked around at the people I admire in my field, I noticed that many held MPAs. I know that the Goldman MPA will give me both the opportunity to expand my network through research and classes, and to dive deeper in what I am passionate about. I appreciate that the MPA is for people who already have career experience- it allows each of us to know what we're looking for out of the program, and to add more value to program.”

Opportunities to develop strong relationships with renowned faculty
“Our cohort has had an amazing opportunity to engage with our instructors on a personal level. Because our cohort is small, we get to talk to them both as faculty and advisers, and also to hear their personal experiences and stories. The Goldman school has done an excellent job blending traditional academic-track faculty with faculty members that come from the private and public sectors.”

Diversity of classmates
“Our cohort brings an incredible diversity in experience- from half a dozen countries and with experience in private, public, nonprofit and philanthropy, I learn something new about the backgrounds of each member every day. I knew I wanted a graduate program geared toward people with work experience, and I'm glad I get to benefit from the expertise of my peers. Discussing topics such as public safety, city budgets, and corporate engagement become much more relevant when members of our class are current police officers, city budget managers, and small business owners.”

A memorable moment
“One day in quantitative statistics part of the presentation started to sound familiar. The professor was presenting some of his own research on economic mobility to the class, and as he dove deeper into the data I realized that I had used his research on a regular basis in my past job to justify our program's strategic changes, but never known he was the author. The set of classes come together in a unique way for different students to resonate with their own careers, and I feel lucky to work with nationally renowned faculty throughout the process.”