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Alumnus Mark Conway Remembers Important Lessons Learned at SPP

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Mark Conway

When Mark Conway decided to study public policy at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, he hoped to gain a job in the public service sector, and he did just that. Now, he works as a CitiStat analyst in the Mayor’s Office in Baltimore.

“I have been an analyst in the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office for the last two years,” Conway says. He adds that his time at SPP helped prepare him for his career after graduation. “The proximity to D.C. and Annapolis allowed me to see policy implications from both the state and federal levels. There aren’t many schools that provide that opportunity without sacrificing the beautiful college campus and a vibrant student life.”

After earning his undergraduate degree at UMD in Government and Politics and Philosophy, Conway says he didn’t hesitate when thinking about where to pursue a graduate degree. “The decision to study at Maryland was an easy one. I had a great deal of support from my mentor, Dr. Nina Harris, who also teaches in the School of Public Policy,” he says. “I love being a Terp. The campus atmosphere and the school spirit at Maryland are infectious.” As an undergraduate student, Conway participated in the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program and the Rawlings Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program.

The biggest asset that I’ve gained is the ability to look at policy problems from a number of different perspectives.
Mark Conway SPP Alumnus

In describing how he became interested in public policy, Conway says, “I became interested and then involved in environmental groups on campus. After lobbying legislators as a leader protesting for years for change, I realized that not only was I passionate about policy issues, but also that policy was an effective means of implementing change.”

Conway also says he was able to gain some real-world experience during his time at UMD School of Public Policy. “I worked for the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Economics while in the program,” he says. “Although I focused mostly on environmental issues, I really liked my microeconomics course. I didn’t have much of an economics background coming in, but I found the economic theory behind commercial giants such as Walmart and even government programs to be fascinating. Those very same microeconomic theories came in handy while working at the EPA.”

While studying environmental policy at SPP, Conway says there were influential faculty members who helped him along the way. “Dr. Harris is like family to me. She has been a mentor to me since the day I stepped foot on campus,” he says. “Dr. Grimm is easily the most charismatic professor I’ve ever had, and he happens to be a nonprofit genius. And, Dr. Sprinkle’s dry humor got me through some long days with a smile.”

Through his journey to complete his MPP degree, Conway says he learned some important lessons. “The biggest asset that I’ve gained is the ability to look at policy problems from a number of different perspectives,” he says. And, his educational goals didn’t stop after he obtained his Master of Public Policy degree from SPP, he also plans to apply to law school this year. 

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