Local Opportunities to Grow
Nearly six years after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration, Shakie Doe-Williams found himself back in the classroom.
Born in Monrovia, Liberia, he moved to the U.S at age 10 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Business Administration Marketing from Boise State University in 2013, he worked in sales at Frito Lay and Pepsi in the Boise area. The 28-year-old graduate student left a career in sales and business management to pursue his Master of Public Administration at the University of Idaho. He graduated in the fall of 2018 and lives in the Seattle, WA area, where he is pursuing a career in local and state government.
“I wanted something different and new — something that would allow me to engage with the public. The MPA program gives me that opportunity,” Doe-Williams said.
A Focus on Local Government
The U of I’s MPA program – available on the Moscow campus and online – places an important focus on local government administration through its classes and learning opportunities. During his time in Moscow, Doe-Williams has completed internships with the city of Moscow and city of Pullman Public Works Department, practicing what he learned in the classroom with his community.
“My internships really put the program into perspective as far as applying what we are learning in the classroom,” Doe-Williams said. “It was interesting to see how our work applies to real-life situations.”
Doe-Williams said working in a local government environment has helped him foster a better sense of community connection.
“I enjoy the aspects of government that the public really doesn’t think about, but that take a lot of care and work,” he said. “With this job, you can contribute to your community and hopefully make it a better place.” Local government provides a lot of services that the average person may not always notice or realize, such as providing clean water, paved streets and sidewalks, police, and parks and community centers.
A Variety of Opportunities
In addition to internships, Doe-Williams said his classes have provided a breadth of variety. The program offers coursework ranging from natural resources classes to learning about water policy to specialized public administration classes.
“It really is a management degree that allows you to work and help people in all kinds of public settings,” he said. “This track really gives you the broad ability to gain knowledge in so many different areas.”
Doe-Williams hopes to use these opportunities and his education at U of I to work for a nonprofit, a state agency, a community government entity or a university. He appreciates that he has been able to work in multiple departments within local government, such as the Administrative Department and the Public Works Department. He aspires to manage a city as a city manager or supervisor.
“Switching careers and disciplines wasn’t easy,” Doe-Williams said. “But this program provided me with so much and has given me the opportunity to grow.”
Written by Hailey Stewart
Published Spring 2019