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Public Administration

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Quick Facts

  • 63 - Number of undergraduates who earned a degree 2015-16
  • 56 - Number of MPA graduates in 2015-16
  • 57 - Number of MNM graduates in 2015-16
  • 5 - Number of M.S.-URP graduates in 2015-16
  • 17 - National ranking of the MNM program by U.S. News and World Report
  • 63 - National ranking of the M.P.A. program by U.S. News and World Report
  • 13 - Number of MRA graduates in 2015-16
  • 193 - Total number of degrees awarded by SPA in 2015-16

Mailing Address

School of Public Administration
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida

4364 Scorpius Street
Orlando, FL 32816-1395

Phone: 407-823-2604
Fax: 407-823-5651

Alumni Spotlight - Catching Up With Tamara Shoup

Thursday, August 27, 2015

When Tamara Shoup decided to earn her master's degree in research administration, she did her homework. She researched different M.R.A. programs, looked at different schools, and even created a ranking system to figure out which program would meet her needs. Out of all of the schools she looked at, only one came out on top - the University of Central Florida.

Shoup graduated with her Master of Research Administration in 2014 and now works as the director of family engagement and Family-Community Resource Centers for Vancouver Public Schools in Vancouver, Washington. We recently caught up with Shoup to find out more about her, her new job and her experience at UCF.

Colorful -wideshotWhat do you do?

I help to build community schools in poverty impacted neighborhoods. Community schools are places that children, youth, families and community partners come to see as a hub in their neighborhood, a safe and supportive place focused on student learning and development of physical, social and emotional well-being. I oversee the coordination of resources, development of partnerships, and implementation of family-student enrichment and engagement programs offered at 16 centers, located within 11 elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, one community learning center and one mobile resource center.

Why do you do what you do?

I do this work with purpose. It takes more than grit to rise out of poverty; it takes an education. For children experiencing the conditions of poverty, learning is often interrupted by mobility, scarcity, and fear. Community schools mobilize resources and support to alleviate those conditions.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I would be an investigative reporter. The PBS kind, not the TMZ kind. I like researching and telling stories.

What has been your favorite city or country to visit?

I love visiting Anacortes, Washington. It is a great place to relax, take a ferry to explore the surrounding islands, walk the marina, hike the Tommy Thompson Trail, or just visit with my in-laws who live in town. Come to think of it, I am long overdue for a visit!

What is the happiest and/or proudest moment of your life?

Taking my family to UCF to watch my graduation was certainly a moment of pride. I had been going to school most of their lives. My graduation was the culmination to missed outings, fixed income, and spent patience. Through it all, they stuck with me.

What is your favorite quote?

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." - Maya Angelou

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

[M.R.A. program director] Dr. Jo Ann Smith won me over when I emailed to ask questions and she suggested we meet in person at a professional conference. She gave up her lunch time to meet me and she showed interest in my professional goals. I made the right choice. The rigor of the M.R.A. program, the responsiveness of its professors, and the insights from other students in the cohort offered me a rich experience.

How has your UCF degree helped in your career?

My M.R.A. degree took me from having a sense of know-how to being knowledgeable. I am able to provide better evidence of practice and compliance, vet grant funding opportunities with a critical lens, and administer public resources responsibly…While my undergraduate degree in human development has undergirded my professional vision for education and social equity, my graduate degree in research administration promoted my skills and confidence.

What is your favorite UCF memory?

Getting to know my cohort was a memorable and enduring experience. It was like finding my people. I had found other people, like me, who enjoyed spending time deconstructing programs and systems within the confines of compliance, and then reconstructing them in more efficient ways.

What's the most important piece of advice you would give to your fellow Knights?

At some point during your college education you are going to want to quit. Don't. Completing your education gives you equity in something that you truly own, knowledge. Everything else - a car, a home - is simply on loan. Nobody can repossess knowledge.

Share and Enjoy:

The hallmark of our work is our strong community engagement.
— Mary Ann Feldheim,  Ph.D., Associate Professor
"The University of Central Florida was a valuable preparation for both graduate school and for the world of work within the field of public affairs."
— Ben Hagen,  B.S. in public administration, '10; Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project
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