Lauren Fecko is one of several Spartan alumni pursuing their Masters of Public Policy degree while working in the policy arena. Lauren’s experience in state-level policy analysis and administration complements her classroom experiences. The MPP program is flexible enough to allow students like Lauren to continue their full-time work while also providing solid training in multiple aspects of the policy field.
Lauren already possesses valuable insight and skills thanks to her position. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in International Relations and Spanish, she began her work with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as a contractor. This experience led to a greater interest, as well as a full-time position, in state government. She currently works as a Departmental Analyst within HHS’s Medical Services Administration.
The Medical Services Administration has a vision of improving the quality and affordability of health care in Michigan. Ultimately, they aim to improve the health status of Michigan’s citizens. The administration works with a variety of partners, including hospitals, HMOs, and local health departments.
As an analyst, Lauren works on a variety of projects within her department. This allows her to continually expand her knowledge of public health issues and improve her understanding of policy.
“There is always something new that you learn every day,” Lauren says. Reflecting on the complexity of large public health programs, including Medicaid, she notes, “[S]o many decisions require the involvement of many different units.” This means that there is almost always competing viewpoints for any given decision. This has an impact on what decisions are made, and how.
The MPP program incorporates just this type of problem into its lessons for students. Lauren has found that the program teaches students to look at issues from more than one perspective. As an example, she cites the differences between how a legislature may view or approach a problem compared to relevant interest groups.
“I think the ability to view issues from different angles will help to predict how different players may view a decision,” she says. Lauren believes that this type of understanding can prepare those who work in policy to accomplish objectives. It gives her the chance to practice working with the variety of actors whose input may influence decisions.
Given her enjoyment of her current position, Lauren would eventually like to take on a more advanced role within state or federal government. She plans to graduate from the MPP program in the spring of 2018. As she continues on her career path, Lauren’s work ethic and appreciation of the complexities of her job will help ensure her success.