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
School of Public Administration
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida
4364 Scorpius Street Orlando, FL 32816-1395
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.
What do you
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
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
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
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
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
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