Jennifer Shea ’08 credits the interdisciplinary training she received in UMass Boston’s PhD in Public Policy program with helping her to be the researcher and teacher she is today.
Shea is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at San Francisco State University and director of the university’s Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, a position she has held since graduating from the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies four years ago.
“I wanted to come to a place where I could study social justice and issues related to poverty,” Shea says, explaining what drew her to the McCormack Graduate School.
She also wanted a place where she could put her studies into practice. Shea’s dissertation looked at the impact of money from faith-based initiatives for high-risk youth organizations in Boston. She found that communication between the initiatives and the high-risk youth organizations was key.
“You can provide grant money and technical assistance, but if there isn’t some sort of a dialogue about that process among the service providers then what you’ve done is one thing, but that’s in isolation,” Shea says about her findings. “It might help that organization but it doesn’t necessarily improve the field of service provision as a whole.”
In her role at San Francisco State University, Shea’s research continues to be focused on public policy and nonprofits. Her latest project looks at nonprofit housing organizations and how they diversify or don’t diversify their revenue streams.
Shea says her fondest memory at UMass Boston and the McCormack Graduate School is more than just a memory.
“It is reflected in the enduring relationships I maintain with my former professors—not just my closest advisors, but also others who share similar scholarly interests—and peers, some of whom have become faculty members at other universities, and others who have gone into a range of other fields.”