Emily Hall Payne, M‘19, currently works as an Administrative Associate for the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. There, she’s part of a grant-funded research project that’s working with performing arts organizations across the nation to study audience sustainability. Through the research, they hope to advance the arts sector by helping to establish and reinforce these organizations as long-standing cultural institutions within our society. She finds this to be an extremely rewarding aspect of her position as she sees the “positive impact that the arts can have on an individual and community.”
As an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University, Ms. Payne worked closely with MSC OPAS, an arts nonprofit organization that serves the public by bringing arts and entertainment to the community. Ms. Payne credits the opportunity to spend a summer interning with the National Endowment for the Arts to her experience with MSC OPAS as well as the graduate education she was receiving at the Bush School. She said that serving this organization was invaluable as her experience “gave [her] a unique perspective that [she] was able to utilize in [her] academic and professional career.” As she applied for jobs, her time at Texas A&M provided her with actual arts-nonprofit experience, research experience, and the educational background that helped her land the position she has today.
Ms. Payne wanted to enhance her education at the Bush School by obtaining a Certificate in Nonprofit Management to bolster her skills and gain knowledge concerning the critical and expansive role that the nonprofit sector plays in our society. She believes that through nonprofit work, we have the “unique ability to be creative and truly make a lasting impact on an individual in a personal and meaningful way.” Her passion for the work she does has inspired her to continue honing her skills, whether it’s through her daily work or her volunteerism.