Learn more about why students have chosen the Bush School of Government & Public Service as Lauren Lathon ’22, Master of Public Service and Administration candidate, discusses her experience at the Bush School.
My name is Lauren Lathon. I’m a second-year in the Public Service and Administration Program at the Bush School. I’m focused on state and local government in the public management track. Prior to coming to the Bush School, I earned a bachelor’s in government from the University of Texas at Austin.
How would you describe your bush school experience thus far?
My experience here so far has been absolutely amazing. Especially coming into our second year, we [students] have full access now to events, programming and facilities in a way that we didn’t our first year because of COVID. It has really enriched our second year. We get the full experience here at the Bush School.
What did you do in the summer between your first and second years, and how did it supplement your education and/or career search?
My summer internship experience was with the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Wharton. In that experience, I did a lot of work on the city’s emergency plans, making sure they were up to date with recent legislation. I managed enrollment and recruitment for our emergency alert systems. Those experiences were really valuable both in the classroom setting and in the professional world. It helped to be able to apply real world experience to my assignments and class discussions. That offered new perspectives. I found that to be true for a lot of classmates who got to do a really great internship over the summer. They were able to add to class more than in the first year. As far as internships and professional value, it’s been great to have emergency management experience and real world skills to apply in the job search. Since I want to go into local government, they find it really helpful. They’re looking for people with those skills to be essential employees during times of emergency.
What is a challenge that you’ve encountered related to your Bush School education and how did you overcome it?
When I first got to the Bush School, I experienced some imposter syndrome—not knowing if I was supposed to be here, if I was smart enough to be here, if I had the skills to be here. Throughout my first semester, you get to know people and realize that everyone feels that way at some point. It becomes really helpful to have those conversations and realize we all have different backgrounds, experiences and skills that work together to create an environment where we can all add something different. We can all belong here in different ways.
What advice would you give to first-years?
I have a few pieces of advice. The first is to make connections within your cohort. There are going to be times where you feel challenged, exhausted or overwhelmed by Bush School courses and graduate school. Your cohort are the only ones that know exactly what that feels like and exactly what you’re going through. It’s always nice to be able to have those conversations with someone who really gets it. Also, I would advise that you take advantage of all the opportunities and resources the Bush School offers. Go to the career talks and the job presentations. Use the career center to tweak your resume and help with cover letters and applications. They’re giving us all these resources, and they want us to succeed after the Bush School. That’s the best way to do so.