USC Price School of Public Policy

MPA Alumni Success Stories

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Coachella mayor reflects on personal journey after graduating from USC Price

The mayor of Coachella was among the USC Price School of Public Policy’s class of 2016. Steven Hernandez, who earned a Master of Public Administration in May, spoke to the Desert Sun newspaper about his inspirational path from farmworker to student to public servant.
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Price alum leads San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Board

USC Price School of Public Policy alumnus Thomas Wong MPA ’13 thinks a lot about California’s drought. That’s because he’s the president of the Board of Directors of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and a representative for his hometown of Monterey Park.
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Alumni create platform to empower local artisans in Thailand, beyond

After earning their MPA degrees from the USC Price School of Public Policy in 2012, Alana Hitchcock and Mark Weber quit their state government jobs, got married and moved to Thailand to inspire social change. Not long after, they founded Trade Monkey — a company dedicated to bridging the gap between disadvantaged artisans and consumers around the world.
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Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Colleen Dilenschneider, MPA ’11

In 2011, Colleen Dilenschneider graduated from USC Price’s MPA program with a concentration in nonprofit management. Today, she is the Chief Market Engagement Officer for the marketing intelligence and consulting company IMPACTS, where she makes big data accessible to organizations and specializes in audience engagement initiatives and digital marketing.

In addition, Colleen also dedicates her time to helping advance the service sector through her popular website, Know Your Own Bone, a resource that offers creative online engagement strategies and best practices for nonprofit and cultural organizations including museums, zoos and aquariums
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Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Ronald Arias, MPA ’74

MPA alumnus Ronald Arias retired this past December as the director of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services — a post he’s held for the past 12 years. His career as a public servant spans 22 years with the City of Long Beach.
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Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Phillip Chen MPA ’05

Phillip Chen is a graduate of the Master of Public Administration program at USC Price. In November 2011, he was elected to the Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees. Currently, Chen works as the health deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, where he is responsible for helping formulate policy in all aspects of county health, public health and mental health services. He also serves as a reserve deputy for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
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Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Kiyomi Burchill MPA ’11

Kiyomi Burchill, 28, graduated with her MPA from USC Price in 2011. In December 2011, she was appointed assistant secretary of the State of California’s Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The agency is responsible for oversight of 13 departments and one board that provide various health care services, social services, mental health services, alcohol and drug treatment services, income assistance and public health services. Prior to the appointment, Burchill had served as a policy consultant since 2008 in the Office of Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. In addition, she was a legislative aide for Senator Steinberg from 2007-2008, and a California Senate Fellow for Senator Steinberg from 2006-2007.
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Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Tomson Ong, MPA ’84, DPA ’92

Honorable Tomson T. Ong, MPA, ’84, DPA, ’92, is a true embodiment of what it means to be a member of the Trojan family. In addition to his work as a judge of the California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, he offers support and advisement to the USC community through his dedicated commitment to the university and especially the USC Price School of Public Policy.
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