student Spotlight

March Student Spotlight with Peta-Gay Campbell, Executive MPA '17

March 17 Student Spotlight

The Executive MPA is a degree for experienced professionals who want to attain leadership skills that will elevate their career and the good work they do. Executive MPA student, Peta-Gay Campbell discusses her role in the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and how the program is helping her improve after school services and other related initiatives in New York City.

Tell us about your role as Deputy Director of the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. What are some of your greatest accomplishments thus far?
I began my career at the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) as a Program Manager. Presently I am a Deputy Director of Middle School Programs, overseeing a portfolio of School’s Out NYC (SONYC) after school programs. The Comprehensive Afterschool System of NYC (COMPASS NYC) programs offers young people the experience of learning through diverse activities that cultivate leadership, growth, and positive youth development. The COMPASS initiative has a network of 900+ after school programs that operate out of public and private schools. Programs are located in City Parks, public housing developments, center based locations and in various Settlement Houses around the City. As DYCD’s mission statement highlights: “The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) invests in a network of community-based organizations and programs to alleviate the effects of poverty and to provide opportunities for New Yorkers and communities to flourish.”

Some of my greatest accomplishments so far include becoming a manager in city government, connecting youth across NYC with quality after school services, assisting organizations to build and maintain stakeholder relationships. During the spring, DYCD hosted a Youth Leadership Conference at Baruch with over 250 young people. We had the opportunity to see and hear from our youth leaders the challenges they face in their community and their plans to solve these problems. I was also part of the agency’s mission statement workgroup that created the new mission statement.

You took Communications in Public Settings, taught by Marxe Dean Birdsell, and created a presentation for your end-of-semester project. Can you tell us about your subject and how your approached and delivered the project?
In the Communications in Public Settings course taught by Dean Birdsell, I created a presentation for my end-of-semester project that focused assessing how funding was utilized in the second year of the middle school expansion. In the presentation, I highlighted the goals of the initiative along with an analysis and comparison of fiscal year 15 and 16. I also included a review of internal and external systems success, setbacks and projected goals for the third year. I used “The McGraw-Hill Guide to Presentation Graphics” written by Dean Birdsell to design and focus the message of my presentation to keep my audience engaged by keeping the text in the slides short and utilizing my physical space to capture the audience’s attention while getting my key points across. I learned that writing, re-writing, and practicing a speech to different audiences has improved my communication in drafting memorandums, e-mails, and giving presentations and speeches.

Why did you choose to get your Executive MPA at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs? What have you gained from the experience thus far?
As a City agency, we are the largest municipally funded after school initiative in the U.S. To sustain and grow the work, we must adapt to changes that we experience during changes in administration or funding. One of the immediate challenges we have is securing funding to implement additional elementary programming. According to a rough estimate, there are approximately 1.1 million youth in the public education system all of whom would greatly benefit from our after school services. Unfortunately, the price tag to serve every child in the City is enormous. Getting full support from elected officials requires planning and advocacy with multiple community stakeholders.
The coursework of the Executive MPA program is giving me strategies and practical applications of policy implementation, communication skills and management techniques which directly impact the work I do. So far the program has helped me find meaningful solutions through the development of policies and procedures, program analysis, and partnership negotiations.