Alumni Spotlight

September Alumni Spotlight with Stephanie Roth, MPA '08

Sept 16 Alumni Spotlight

Graffiti has long plagued major metropolitan areas and perhaps none more so than New York City. But there are organizations and people in those organizations who seek to tackle the issue head-on. Stephanie recalls her time at the School, her role in beautifying through graffiti removal, and her most significant career accomplishment thus far.

Can you tell us what you do in the Quality of Life Program Services division at the New York City Economic Development Corporation? What do you hope to achieve there?
I manage the ongoing development and expansion of City-wide graffiti removal program service (Graffiti-Free NYC) and CleaNYC, the recently announced Mayoral initiative to clean and beautify commercial corridors throughout the city. I also lead the workforce development program -- the Quality of Life initiatives create challenging and skill-enhancing jobs for low-to-moderate income residents.

I hope to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs. I want to think creatively to expand these existing initiatives and develop new programs. There is a lot of potential and opportunity to create change to positively impact the residents of NYC.

What made you decide to get your MPA at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs? How did what you learned in the program help you to develop your career?
I decided to get an MPA because I knew I wanted to work in the public/nonprofit sector. I knew that the expertise I would gain and the accreditation would help me transition into the sector. The MPA laid the groundwork and foundational knowledge for me to succeed in leadership positions.

You’ve had what seems to be an already very interesting career with time spent at different organizations in different cities around the U.S. How have you approached your career thus far?
I think an important part of my approach to my career has been being open to and seeking out positions which fall outside of my “wheel house.” I could never have predicted the trajectory of my career and I’m very happy with how it has transpired. By taking on challenges in different sectors, very different types of institutions and in diverse roles, I expanded my expertise and gained experience which helped me along the way.

What is your most impactful career accomplishment thus far?
While working at the national nonprofit, StoryCorps, I oversaw the operations and established the infrastructure during a period of tremendous growth. Having effective operational systems allowed the organization to run smoothly and maximize its impact. I felt connected to the mission and knew that my work advanced the high level goals of the organization.