Earning a degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy can take your career in many places, both globally and locally. School of Public Policy alumna Dannielle Glaros currently serves as co-chair of the Prince George’s County Council, and she credits part of her success to her education at SPP.
In 2014, Glaros was sworn in as a Prince George’s County Council member, and in 2015 she became vice-chair of the county council. “Every class I took at the School of Public Policy, I look back on now,” she says. “There were great professors who taught those classes, and there were a few classes in particular that I would say very much influenced my career and professors who I interacted with.” She also says the state and local budgeting class she took was particularly relevant to her position as a council member.
As part of her job as a county council member, Glaros says she works on a wide range of things, including development projects and land-use projects. “The county council also has the unique role here in Prince George's County, which is unique to the state, in that we sit as the Board of Health,” she says. “So we also look at health policy and health outcomes.”
I had been working for a few years and came to the School of Public Policy full time so I could get my master’s degree and really move on in my career and be able to take on other responsibilities and other leadership roles.Dannielle Glaros SPP Alumnus
“One of the best things about being a council member in Prince George's County is that I get the represent the University of Maryland,” Glaros says. “As an alum, it is phenomenal to be able to represent your university and it’s really an exciting time to be representing the University and College Park and the surrounding area. There’s a lot of development happening and there’s a lot of great opportunities. That’s a really exciting part of my job. I get to continue to have this wonderful relationship with the University in a completely new capacity,”
She says her interest in policy began after she finished her undergraduate degree at Bucknell University. “I majored in economics and geography, and then for about six years I worked for a few different organizations on environmental and transportation issues and did a lot of community organizing for them,” Glaros says. “While I was doing that, I realized I was interested in focusing more on the policy behind some of the activities that we were working on. I had been working for a few years and came to the School of Public Policy full time so I could get my master’s degree and really move on in my career and be able to take on other responsibilities and other leadership roles.”
“At the time, I was living in DC, so the School of Public Policy offered me the opportunity to stay in the Washington, DC area and at the same time get my degree at a great policy program,” she says. “I wanted to come to a program that had a focus on the environment, so my specialization at SPP was on environmental policy. I also wanted to work with faculty who were local, and a lot of the faculty at SPP had expertise working with the federal government, some with the state government. They were known in the region and I knew I was going to stay in the region afterwards. I really thought the program offered a lot of benefits for me.”
In addition to the knowledge she gained during her time at SPP, Glaros also credits Adjunct Lecturer Charles Field with helping her begin her current career path. “I took a few classes with Charles Field on policy negotiation and he connected me with an internship with the State of Maryland in the Department of Planning one summer and that set me on this path in my career,” Glaros says. That summer, Glaros received compensation for her unpaid internship from SPP through the William Donald Schafer Fund. “Because of the SPP Internship Program, I was able to work at the State of Maryland.”
Glaros says the top reason she would recommend students attend the School of Public Policy is the access to talented faculty who have connections throughout the Washington metropolitan area. “When I was working for the Chief of Staff for the Secretary, Governor Parris Glendening decided to create the new Governor’s Office of Smart Growth,” she says. “The Secretary of the Department of Planning was named the Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Smart Growth, and she took me with her to start that office. I was then hired back to work with the Governor’s Office of Smart Growth once I graduated. I worked a lot in the smart growth, redevelopment, revitalization arena with some incredibly talented people right out of my degree program, and it’s completely attributable to a connection that Charles Field had.”
She adds that it’s important for students coming to SPP to take advantage of everything there is to offer at the School. “That is not only just the classes, but also the additional activities and opportunities,” Glaros says. “Try an internship you hadn’t thought about, or an opportunity you want to explore. Ultimately, folks who are looking to hire people want to see that folks have not only gotten their master’s degree, but also have built a wealth of experiences over the few years that you have worked towards the degree.”
One of the best things about earning a degree from the School of Public Policy, according to Glaros, is the connections. “The wonderful connections that can lead to your next career are important,” she says. “If you’re going to invest the time and energy for a few years to get that degree, you want to be able to make sure that you’re going to be able to find a great job afterwards. I think the School does a wonderful job in making sure that happens.”