What Can I Do With This Degree?
The SPAA degrees are some of the most versatile degrees for maximizing your options in the job market. From working in government at all levels, to leading foundations, managing consulting firms, or serving in the presidential administration, our alumni can be found in a variety of roles.
Alumni Spotlights: How Our Alumni Use Their Degrees
Read the following alumni spotlights for a sample of the doors our degrees can open for you.
Tony Reames (Ph.D. 2013)
Senior Advisor on Energy Justice
Before joining the Biden Administration at the Department of Energy's Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Tony G. Reames was most recently a professor of environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan, where he established the Urban Energy Justice Lab to conduct research and develop solutions on the production and persistence of racial, income, and geographic disparities in energy access, affordability, decision making, and participation. Reames served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked in both the private and public sectors as a licensed professional engineer.
Travis Machalek (MPA 2015)
Town Manager, Estes Park, CO
In 2020 the Town of Estes Park was consumed by wildfires, but the Cameron Peak fire was the most threatening. As manager, Travis oversaw the safety of the community of 8,000 residents, all of whom were under evacuation orders at various times. His leadership allowed public services to continue uninterrupted while nearly 400,000 acres surrounding Estes Park were raging. He activated the Emergency Operations Center and staffed it around the clock, even when the fires threated his home. His commitment to the residents of Estes Park, and his service above self was recognized by our alumni with the Edwin O. Stene Award for Managerial Excellence in 2021.
Larisa Chambi (MUP 2019)
Associate Planner, Gallatin County, Bozeman MT
I graduated from the University of Kansas in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies. I spent two years working at Cordley Elementary School as an ESL Para-Educator and as a translator for the district. I applied for the Urban Planning Program at KU after noticing a growing need to engage communities with nature and sustainable living. I graduated from the Urban Planning Program in May 2019.
The Urban Planning program has taught me tools in environmental planning, housing data collection and analysis, and community engagement. These past three semesters have helped me focus on the areas I am most interested in working with. I spend my free time exploring the community and reading.
I began work as an Assistant Planner with the Gallatin County Planning Department in Bozeman, Montana. I have completed a variety of applications ranging from Land Use Permits to Subdivision Review
David Jordan (MPA 2018)
President and CEO, UMHMF
David Jordan is the President and CEO of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (Health Fund), joining the Health Fund in February 2018. David leads the statewide health foundation’s grantmaking, relationship building, policy development, and advocacy. David represents the Health Fund on local, state and national boards and committees, serving as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice, Kansas’ Vaccine Equity Commission, and Kansas’ Healthy 2030 Committee.