The Bush School is fully committed to its mission of educating and training principled leaders as well as performing service. Learn more about why students have chosen the Bush School of Government & Public Service as Alexis Benedict, class of 2023 Master of Public Service and Administration candidate, discusses her experience at the Bush School. Alexis is in the Public Management track.
Hi, my name is Alexis Benedict. I am a first year Masters student of Public Service and Administration on the Public Management track. I’m originally from Greenville, South Carolina, and lived in San Antonio Texas for about 5 years before moving down to College Station. So I got my undergrad at Sewanee, the University of the South, located in Tennessee, and while I was there I got my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Education. After I graduated from undergraduate, I thought that maybe I wanted to be a teacher, which led me to joining an AmeriCorps program called City Year. It’s in San Antonio and essentially you’re placed at a title 1 High School. While I was there I realized I did not want to be a teacher. But, I was still very interested in Education and being behind the scenes. So then I started working for various nonprofits and spent 3 years working for an education-based nonprofit in San Antonio. And then after about 3 years of working there, I realized that I would like to be in a position where I was helping make decisions that affect nonprofits, which is what drew me to the Bush School.
Why did you choose the Bush School?
What initially drew me to the Bush School was their mission statement. They really emphasized developing ethical, thoughtful public servants, and that really aligned personally with my values. And then after exploring and learning more about the program, I was really drawn to their capstone programs and projects that you complete as a second year student. What I liked about those is that it really showed, to me, as someone who would be coming back to school with work experience, how much the Bush School really values hands-on experience.
What did you appreciate most about your first year at the Bush School?
The thing that I appreciated the most about my first year at the Bush School is the sense of community that I found here. You know, it’s a little intimidating, moving to a new place not knowing anyone, and when I first moved here I was worried that I’d only be focused on school, that there wouldn’t be very many extracurriculars and a sense of community. But I have not found that to be the case at all at the Bush School, and that’s been one of my favorite parts of being a student here. It just feels like everyone really wants to support each other and build you up. For example, before I came, as a first year MPSA student, you have to take economics and a quantitative methods course, which, having been out of school for a little bit, I was extremely nervous about. But, I found that my classmates – everyone was just so willing to help me and make sure I understood the material, and honestly, I would not have passed without my friends and the people supporting me.
Coming from a small undergrad university of just about 14,000 students, the Texas A&M experience is something completely new. I’ve really enjoyed diving into Aggie culture, I was a part of the tailgate committee last year and I really got to experience that SEC football first-hand, which was amazing. There’s just so many different opportunities within the campus and community to get involved.
What are you most looking forward to this semester?
What I’m most looking forward to in my second year is really getting started on the capstones. As I initially mentioned, that was something that really drew me to the program itself, and so I’m really excited to get started and start applying these things I’ve been learning in class for these past two semesters onto a real project with real clients.
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself applying to the Bush School?
Some advice that I would give to my younger self when applying to the Bush School is, just to enjoy the journey and try not to be so anxious about coming back to school. Everyone here is so supportive, from the students, the faculty, and the staff, they all really want to see you succeed. And I just would want to reassure myself that, it’s gonna be okay, and you know, you’re not the only one that isn’t coming straight out of undergrad, you’re gonna have other people too who are going through the same things.