Veronica Frazier, a student in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program online, has long been passionate about public service.
Following her undergraduate studies in political science at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, Frazier entered the world of politics and took up various positions in governmental campaigns and nonprofits. The birth of her first child, however, soon changed her career plans and led Frazier to utilize her skills in a different — and entrepreneurial — way.
“I wanted to stay home and be there for my children during those early years, so I started a small business and owned and operated that for roughly six years. Then, once I was officially done with child-rearing and felt like they were at a good age, I decided to go back to school. I always wanted to re-enter politics and the nonprofit world or sector,” she explained.
As she researched options for graduate school, Frazier knew she needed a flexible, online program that would allow her to balance her studies with her family life in San Antonio, Texas. Ultimately, she decided on the MPA program online at USC Price School of Public Policy.
“I wanted to get into a top-tier school, and that was my vision of shooting for the stars, knowing USC’s MPA online program was one of the best in the country,” Frazier said. “Everything I read about USC Price was perfectly aligned with what I wanted to do, and it seemed like it would give me the knowledge I needed to make bigger leaps forward.”
Luckily for Frazier, USC Price has already exceeded her expectations. In the MPA program online, students are prepared to tackle the ever-changing nature of public administration, taking courses in public financial management and budgeting, public policy economics and organizational behavior.
The program not only helps graduates become well-versed in the mechanics of public administration, but also equips them with the necessary agility and leadership skills to address complex problems. And as Frazier pointed out, there is never a shortage of hurdles when working in bureaucracy.
“You learn how to collaborate with different entities within the government as well as the nonprofit space. The program really focuses on how complicated things can be and tries to set graduates up [with the right tools] for the challenging road ahead,” she explained.
Above all, Frazier, who graduates in May 2023, has appreciated how much knowledge she has gained on the myriad of intricate social issues that impact public policy in the United States, describing it as one of the biggest takeaways from the program.
“Policy, for better or worse, impacts the way a lot of programs — and the country itself — are run. It’s helpful to learn the deep ins and outs of how that process is structured, formulated and implemented because it is so convoluted, and you need to understand that so you can move forward,” Frazier said.
In addition to forming tight bonds with her passionate and talented MPA cohort members, Frazier has also found a larger community at USC by joining the Graduate Policy and Administration Community (GPAC) board. The student-run group organizes alumni events, conferences, speaker series and more to help USC policy students expand their network and forge connections.
Whenever Frazier flies into LA, she makes sure to carve out dedicated time for GPAC events and her fellow students.
“I love the USC pride because it’s so heavy. Even with the online instructors, you can feel all the passion and love for USC, and it’s so addicting,” Frazier said.
Of course, for Frazier, being a single mother and a full-time student can be challenging — she’s constantly juggling both her needs and those of her children. When asked how she manages to pull it off, she advised to just take it one day at a time.
“It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. My kids get to see me in class. They’re seeing me study, and they’re seeing me research and write and read all the time. It’s good for them to see that. It is a lot of late nights, but then I just have lots of caffeine to get me through the day,” she laughed.
Plus, those late nights may soon be a thing of the past as her time at USC comes to an end. With graduation looming, Frazier is focusing on her next steps: re-igniting her career in the political and nonprofit space.
“I first wanted to get this degree because I’ve been trying to start a non-governmental organization (NGO) that utilizes private capital but is within sort of a collaborative space with micro-financing investors, all in hope of servicing minority women. The end goal has always been to do that,” she explained.
While getting her NGO off the ground is Frazier’s main mission, she has new objectives, too, inspired by her time at USC. Education is once again on the horizon.
“In 10 years, I would really like to pursue a PhD. I don’t know where that fits along with my long-term career plan, but that’s a goal I’m definitely pursuing down the road,” Frazier said.
So, with the possibility of a PhD program, will Frazier really be leaving USC this year? Well, even if she doesn’t opt to pursue her studies at the university again, she — like any of the other students who join USC — will always be a part of the Trojan Family.
Learn more about the Master of Public Administration (MPA) online today.