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Student sees future in immigration work

For Bridget Riley, the Master of Public Administration program is providing the additional skills and experience needed to pursue her career goal of working for a non-profit that deals with immigration policy.

“The program has really been intense, but very fulfilling,” said Riley, a 24-year-old from Hamilton who will graduate in May. “It’s gotten me to the point where I feel I can step into a non-profit. It’s showed me a lot about non-profits and governments in general.”

At Binghamton, Riley has worked on grant writing; spent a summer interning for ACHIEVE, where she helped with a capital campaign; and has collaborated with assistant professor David Campbell and other MPA students on the Philanthropy Incubator, a project that strengthens the ties between the University and local nonprofits.

Riley has played a leadership role in the Philanthropy Incubator, Campbell said.

“Bridget embodies the qualities we look for in public administration students: a commitment to public service, a willingness to learn and enthusiasm about the opportunities the program presents,” he said. “She has recommended creative fundraising ideas and contributed to the development of strategies to make sure the project endures at the University after she graduates.”

Riley became interested in immigration policy after spending a semester in Nogales, Mexico, about an hour south of Tucson, Ariz., when she was an undergraduate at St. Rose College in Albany. She not only worked with nonprofits and direct-care immigration groups, but also spent time with families who lived without necessities such as running water and electricity.

“I saw how the other half lives,” said Riley, who plans to move to the Southwest after graduation. “Not that I was naïve before, but I didn’t understand the severity of the situation then. That really shaped my career goals.”

Riley, who has attended graduate school while working full time, has enjoyed the benefits of the Downtown Center.

“It creates more of a community atmosphere because you end up knowing people from other programs and it’s more convenient for going to different government meetings,” she said. “It just allows for more access to the community.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08