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Public Administration

Meet the 2023 MPA Scholarship Award Winners

The NC State belltower framed by the arches of Holladay Hall. Photo by Marc Hall

Meet the winners of the 2023 MPA Alumni Scholarship Award: Sydney Bezanson (MPA ‘24) and Ian Johnson (MPA ‘23). Thanks to the generosity of the Public Administration Alumni Society Scholarship Endowment, two outstanding students were honored this year. The award recognizes students for their excellence in public administration.

Sydney Bezanson

In her second year of the MPA program, Sydney also works full-time in development and communications at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global conservation nonprofit and the largest conservation organization in the world. I am grateful for the interdisciplinary opportunities offered through the MPA program,” Sydney said. “I hope to specialize further in nonprofit management, environmental policy and communications.” 

Sydney served in the Peace Corps in West Africa–an experience that has been foundational for her career and greatly contributes to her work in the MPA program. “In rural Benin, I lived alongside subsistence farmers navigating impacts of desertification, habitat destruction, and resource extraction,” Sydney said. “ At TNC, I see the barriers communities will face as they confront climate change. Environmental justice calls for radical collaboration, which frames my work in communications and outreach.”

“The MPA program has helped me connect with others in the public and nonprofit sectors. Right now, I am open to many professional opportunities, and I believe my MPA coursework will help refine my interests—guiding me to where I can make the greatest impact.”

Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson was selected for his commitment to public administration work and outstanding public service. A 2023 graduate of the MPA program, Ian recently began a full time position as a budget analyst with the Town of Garner after completing a graduate assistantship with the town’s management and budget office. Ian also completed the Graduate Certificate in Public Policy Analysis through the School of Public and International Affairs.  

“The internship sparked my interest in budgeting and financial analysis,” Ian said. “I was able to work with and meet a great team of local government budgeting professionals.” 

Ian became interested in a career in public administration through his political science and policy courses as an undergraduate. Two professional internships–with the Wake County Budget and Management Services Office and the Town of Garner–solidified his career choice and helped him develop the skills he needed to begin his career. 

“NC State’s MPA is a dynamic professional degree,” Ian noted. “The program honed my management, financial analysis and policy skills and will allow me to enact a greater change through my work in community and state government.”

The mission of NC State’s MPA program is to develop principled and skilled public service professionals who fulfill leadership roles within governmental and nonprofit organizations. We focus on practical and problem-solving skills and emphasize public service values — including efficiency, effectiveness, equity and accountability.