As a graduate of the Master in Public Service and Administration (MPSA) program at the Bush School, international student Warren Chalklen studied in hopes of one day “deeply affecting” the education system in South Africa. Chalklen is from South Africa, and says he came to the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University because of the “rigorous curriculum and world-class faculty.”
After completing his first year of study, Chalklen secured an internship with the Office of the Presidency of South Africa within the National Planning Commission, giving him an opportunity to influence policy and learn about the inner workings of his home country’s government. Chalklen specifically focused on education policy and had the opportunity to write policy recommendations for his office. Chalklen said his graduate education at the Bush School “prepared [him] for the challenges of this job in a variety of ways,” specifically citing the policy analysis, networking, and practical skills gained here.
“I have learned to embrace the uncertainties of public service and have used the skills attained in this program in a variety of contexts,” Chalklen said. “Aside from honing my communication, reflection, and management skills, the Bush School has allowed me to grow as a public servant and citizen.”
Chalklen says the Bush School was his “home away from home” because though the students are diverse, they all share the common cause of serving the public good. “I have had the opportunity to learn alongside dedicated colleagues from around the world, and the distinct pleasure of witnessing the very best of American culture in the tenets of what it means to be an Aggie.”
A George and Barbara Bush Fellow for 2012-2013, Chalklen was previously a teacher in numerous South African contexts and received the Jack Hutton Memorial Award, a prestigious honor awarded by the University Witwatersrand, which recognizes contributions to community education across the country. Chalklen hopes to eventually earn a PhD and continue his work in the South African education system.
I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ALONGSIDE DEDICATED COLLEAGUES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, AND THE DISTINCT PLEASURE OF WITNESSING THE VERY BEST OF AMERICAN CULTURE IN THE TENETS OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AGGIE
“The Bush School merged practice and theory throughout my two years of study in the Master’s Degree in International Affairs. By receiving excellent instruction, students are better able to address real-world challenges. As a student of international economic development, my classes were given depth through a study trip to New Delhi, India, and an internship at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva, Switzerland. These experiences are key to my professional advancements today and my work in international economic development.”
Immediately after graduation from the Bush School in 2009, Aurelia was selected for the prestigious Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship. Based in Berlin during the fellowship, she held high-level placements in energy and environmental policy in the German public and private sectors, at the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), and Siemens AG. Currently based in Bonn, Germany, Aurelia speaks German, French, and Spanish. Since her fellowship, Aurelia has been working with the German Development Institute (DIE) on an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) project, examining multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges in agriculture, energy, and health.
THE BUSH SCHOOL MERGED PRACTICE AND THEORY THROUGHOUT MY TWO YEARS OF STUDY IN THE MASTER’S DEGREE IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. BY RECEIVING EXCELLENT INSTRUCTION, STUDENTS ARE BETTER ABLE TO ADDRESS REAL-WORLD CHALLENGES.
“The experience that I had at the Bush School, thanks to the generosity of many of the School’s supporters, has had such a positive impact not only on my career, but on my life. Particularly today, as we redefine the ways that government, business, and the nonprofit sectors work together, it has become quite evident to me that the broad vision of “public service” – as exemplified through President Bush’s life and service to his communities and our nation – is clearly instilled in the values of the Bush School. This broad vision of public service has changed the course of my life and my career. It has prepared me to manage successfully in a world in which we – as servant leaders – must consistently find more efficient and effective ways to help create a world which is even better for our children and grandchildren than it was for us.”
Jason has been working for local government since his graduation from the inaugural class in 1999. Currently, the City Manager of McKinney, Texas, integrity, trust, respect, compassion, support, resourcefulness, teamwork, and service excellence exemplify his dedication to professionalism. He is recognized as a leader in local government and business management in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News has recognized him as “innovative” and “novel.”
IT HAS BECOME QUITE EVIDENT TO ME THAT THE BROAD VISION OF “PUBLIC SERVICE” – AS EXEMPLIFIED THROUGH PRESIDENT BUSH’S LIFE AND SERVICE TO HIS COMMUNITIES AND OUR NATION – IS CLEARLY INSTILLED IN THE VALUES OF THE BUSH SCHOOL
Fernando Trevino, a graduate of the Master in Public Service and Administration (MPSA) program at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, is on the fast track to a career in public service. As a student in the five-year joint degree program, Trevino earned both his undergraduate degree in political science and his graduate degree in May 2013, only five years after enrolling at Texas A&M University.
“The five-year joint degree program is definitely a benefit to undergraduate students at Texas A&M who know that they are interested in public service because it can reduce costs,” Trevino said. “More importantly, it allows students to pursue and focus on their interests sooner. The five-year program was a major incentive to push myself academically.”
Trevino is dedicated to his community and his state as a volunteer and public servant. Trevino has volunteered at local schools by teaching bilingual kindergarten classes; worked for Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, a non-profit organization in Austin; and was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve as student regent on the Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents for 2011-2012. He was also recently appointed by Perry to the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation Board of Directors through 2017.
Fernando says his experiences at the Bush School have benefitted him in these endeavors because the School allows him to “think critically about how government can be improved to enhance others’ quality of life.” Further, the experience as a student regent for Texas A&M allowed him to see theory about public organizations in action. “Class discussions and readings were always helpful in understanding some of the major changes that occurred at Texas A&M.”
All Bush School students must complete a Capstone project before graduating; but every two years, a group from the Bush School relocates to Austin to work for the Texas Legislature full time. Trevino was one of the students who worked on this Capstone project in a state representative’s office. “I received so much hands-on experience through this Capstone that will be invaluable. I received the theoretical and practical capacity to better understand how government really functions.”
THE FIVE-YEAR JOINT DEGREE PROGRAM IS DEFINITELY A BENEFIT TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AT TEXAS A&M WHO KNOW THAT THEY ARE INTERETESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE BECAUSE IT CAN REDUCE COST. MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT ALLOWS STUDENTS TO PURSUE AND FOCUS ON THEIR INTERESTS SOONER
As public service becomes increasingly professionalized, President Bush’s noble calling has also become more expensive to answer. As one of the Bush School’s prestigious Robertson Fellows in 2011-2013, Kerri Eisenbach says she had the “privilege of pursuing a career in public service with the federal government without having to compromise” on her goals to pay back student loans.
Robertson Fellowship funds are intended to provide a mix of resources to students that will cover approximately all expenses associated with completing a master’s degree over two years. Fellows also receive subsidized health benefits, some coverage of internship expenses, networking opportunities through the Foundation and Fellowship alumni, and assistance in finding careers in the federal government.
With an undergraduate degree in philosophy, Kerri was a member of Texas A&M University’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious national academic honor society. While attending the Bush School, Eisenbach worked as a graduate assistant researcher, giving back to the School vast amounts of knowledge and research.
During her time at the Bush School, Eisenbach completed an internship with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, where she worked on the trading floor for the Global Head of Fixed Income and Wealth Management. The Standard Chartered Bank is an international bank focused on Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, which serves a multinational client base. In addition to traveling to Costa Rica and Mexico prior to coming to the Bush School, she traveled to China and India on study abroad trips, making a variety of international friends and contacts. “I now have a deeper understanding and firsthand experience of the issues I will be working on in my career in international affairs,” Eisenbach said.
Without the Robertson Fellowship, Eisenbach said the financial burden of graduate school would have put a serious strain on her ability to complete her master’s degree. Continued support for the Bush School is vital to attract and retain students like Eisenbach.
I NOW HAVE A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING AND FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE OF THE ISSUES I WILL BE WORKING ON IN MY CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS