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Alumnus Developed Interest in Policy through Family Discussions

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Nathan Bowen

University of Maryland School of Public Policy Alumnus Nathan Bowen currently works as a supervising budget examiner at the Maryland Department of Budget and Management. Bowen says his interest in policy was instilled in him during his teenage years spending time with his family.

“My family’s dinner table has always been one where philosophical and political ideas have been exchanged freely,” Bowen says. “Adding to this interest was my family’s favorite television show, “The West Wing.” The show’s willingness to take on current political issues, from both liberal and conservative points of view, made the issues more accessible to me as a teenager and enlivened family discussion. This engaging environment created in me a strong interest in current world events and public policy.”

After earning his undergraduate degree in government from The College of William and Mary, Bowen worked for various legislators in the Maryland General Assembly. “While the work was certainly interesting, what I found to be the most intellectually stimulating was the related research and policy analysis work,” he says. “Therefore, I decided to pursue my master’s in public policy so that I could delve further into that field.”

The ability to compile and summarize information in a succinct, useful fashion is a very important skill in the area of policy, and SPP’s emphasis on that skillset has been crucial to my subsequent success.
Nathan Bowen SPP Alumnus

“I decided to attend UMD in particular due to its excellent reputation, the chance the attend school in the state where I intended to pursue my career, and its location close to all levels of government” Bowen says. “I particularly enjoyed the fact that many of my professors [at SPP] had professional experience in the fields where they taught, so they were able to provide real-life examples of their lessons. I also enjoyed my graduate assistantships with CIER and Professor Philip Joyce, which gave me the chance to research in my primary areas of interest: environmental policy and financial policy.”

Bowen’s specialization at SPP was environmental policy, but he now works in finance. “I first became interested in the financial system of the state when working for Senator Richard Madeleno in the Maryland General Assembly. He served on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and I was given multiple budget-related projects during my time with him,” he says. “Most influential to my interest was my public finance class with Professor Joyce. I greatly enjoyed the way he covered the subject and found the budget process and related analysis to be fascinating.”

In his position with the Office of Budget Analysis (OBA), Bowen supervises a team of three analysts. “OBA’s operating budget analysts serve as the liaisons between agencies and the governor of Maryland,” he explains. “The agencies submit their budgets to our analysts, who make recommendations for related efficiencies and enhancements, which are then submitted to our secretary and, through him, to the governor and his staff for final decisions. My assignments are the K-12 system of Maryland, Maryland’s pension system, and state aid to local governments.”

“The most important impact SPP had on me was the further development of my writing and analysis skills,” Bowen adds. “The ability to compile and summarize information in a succinct, useful fashion is a very important skill in the area of policy, and SPP’s emphasis on that skillset has been crucial to my subsequent success.”

Bowen also says his connections with faculty had an impact on his career and he would encourage future graduate students to focus on those connections. “Even more than at the undergraduate level, it is crucial that you develop relationships with your professors,” he says. “Both since they can be a wealth of knowledge in their fields and because of the employment connections that those relationships can open to you.”

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Megan Campbell
Senior Director of Strategic Communications
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