Haley Schneider, class of 2023 Master of Public Service & Administration Candidate, discusses her experience at the Bush School. Haley is in the Nonprofit Management track.
I’m from Austin, Texas, but I did choose to come to Texas A&M for my undergraduate and I actually studied Sports Management, Business, and Communications. So I have kind of an interesting route to get to the Bush School, but I realized in my undergraduate studies that I was really passionate about people. So, what I wanted to do was apply my love for people and my love for entrepreneurship, so I applied to the Bush School. I graduated from Texas A&M in 2020, and then I worked for a consulting group for a year.
Why did you decide to apply to the Bush School?
I decided to apply to the Bush School because I’d just heard so many great things about the program: the robust staff experience, and what really mattered to me is that the program focused on experiential learning and the capstone programs. And so, I applied and I was really nervous because I was a Sports Management Major, and I was like, “I have no business being here,” but I realized that anyone is called to public service if they’re passionate about it. And so I applied to really understand what that means and what that was gonna look like for me.
What benefits are there to being an Aggie?
Being an Aggie is the best gig anyone can have. Being an Aggie just means family and that’s something I immediately felt as soon as I walked onto campus here at Texas A&M. The network of people that you’re gonna meet here are people that you’re gonna keep with you for the rest of your life. Really defining moments of who I am have happened at this school. You can’t help but think of all the fun traditions we have here: Texas A&M football, getting your Aggie ring; there’s just so many ways to connect to the school and what I love the most is that no matter who you are there’s a place for you. There’s thousands of organizations, and it doesn’t matter who you are, you can find something that makes you feel known and valued and find where you belong.
What do you like most about the Bush School?
Coming to the Bush School is going to change the trajectory of your life because the people you meet, the classwork that you work on, and the organizations that you get to experience here are unlike anything else and there’s a reason it’s so highly ranked. It just feels like home when you come to the Bush School. What I love is that I get to have such personal relationships with professors and they helped me get into my internship this past summer, and other involvements around the community. I’ve been involved in the Bush Board Fellow Program, so I’m actually a nonvoting board member on the United Way Board, which is a program only offered here because of the relationships that our staff has with the community. So that’s something really unique to the Bush School.
What did you do this summer?
This summer I had the honor to be the intern for Allies Against Slavery. It’s a nonprofit organization that is based out of Austin, Texas. And what’s really cool about Allies Against Slavery is that they’re the head of their field of meeting data with finding human trafficking victims. What’s really cool about that is they find these victims, and then we actually use the data to inform policy at the state level. So it’s a really cool balance of a service organization and an advocacy organization. Which is exactly what I wanted to do here. They are actually now my capstone, so I get to keep working with them and continue those relationships.
What did you like about your first year at the Bush School?
What the first year was to me was just getting involved and diving into all the different kinds of people at the Bush School. I was on the Student Government Association. The first year I served as the tailgate co-chair and I now serve as the Chief of Staff for SGA. Why I love that is that I got to meet so many different people, and also provide an opportunity for people to get involved and just build the school’s camaraderie because, although we have so many differences, it’s really cool to see everyone unified under the cause of wanting to serve their country or serve their respective country.
What has been your favorite class?
My favorite class that I’ve taken at the Bush School is Dr. Kerr’s Public Policy formation class. It was my favorite class because she makes you a better public speaker and teaches you how to write in a manner that people can understand and really make you think about the root of problems. It’s really easy when you’re passionate to wanna go to the solutions, but what I really like about the professors in general at the Bush School is that they say, ‘let’s take a second and critically think about these wicked problems.’ These are critical thinking skills that you’re going to use for the rest of your life, so whether you want to be in public policy or not, I highly recommend taking Dr. Kerr’s class because it will rock your world.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice is that everything is going to be okay. If you’re passionate about something and see a path to make that happen, go for it. Don’t be held back. For me, I was like “I’m a Sports Management Business person, there’s no way I’m going to find a place to be accepted into this program,” but it’s not true. We all care about public service, and you’re going to find a place here if you’re passionate about that. That being said, once you get here, just know that there’s so many people to support you. There’s so many people that have your back and want to make sure you find exactly the niche you’re looking for so you can go out into the world and make a difference. This is a safe place to do that, so don’t be afraid to get your knees dirty and fail a couple times. Just keep putting yourself out there, and I promise your passion and grit will carry you through.