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MY SPEA Experience

Jenna Morrison Civitello, MPA/MSES '10

I encourage you to share your SPEA journey and how SPEA contributed to your career path for future alumni newsletter “My SPEA Experience” features.

Picture of Jenna

Like many alumni, there were a variety of reasons that SPEA was a perfect fit for me. While pursuing my BA in environmental studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, I became interested in environmental policy and advocacy. After Colby, I served as an environmental educator for AmeriCorps in Elkhart, Indiana and began researching graduate schools. SPEA was the only school which combined my environmental policy and nonprofit interests, and it was ranked number one in both of these concentrations! I also knew two Colby College alumni at IU, David Fuente (MPA/MSES ’07) and Brendan Carroll (MA ’08). For me, IU SPEA was an easy choice.

SPEA became my student and professional home from 2007-2010. In the dual MPA/MSES program, my concentrations were in nonprofit management and policy analysis. Inspired by environmental law, policy, and science courses with Professors Jim Barnes, Robert Fischman, and Vicki Meretsky, I created a specialized MSES concentration, biodiversity conservation policy and management. SPEA certainly satisfied my diverse interests, inside and outside of the classroom. I became involved with the SPEA Environmental Management Association under the leadership of Amanda Hemmerich (MPA ’08), Julie Graf (MPA/MSES ’09), Heather Dowding (MPA ’08), and Michael Herbert (MPA/MSES ’09). I could often be found working in the EMA Backyard Habitat! Of course I also attended the SPEA Halloween party, dressing in themed consumes with Francie Gary Abramson (MPA/MSES ’09), Jennifer Keatinge (MPA ’09), and Laura Cavagnaro Switzer (MPA ’09).

During this time, I also led fundraising initiatives for the IU Research and Teaching Preserve and Office of Sustainability. I accepted a development internship with the IU Foundation and SPEA after graduation and reconnected with IUF development officer Stephanie Goodrid Lawson (MPA ’08). When Stephanie accepted a position elsewhere, I was hired at IUF. I enjoyed fundraising for all of IU but always felt a special connection whenever I met a SPEA alum. When the position in SPEA Alumni Relations and Development was open this past summer, I jumped at the opportunity. Like Dr. Meretsky said, I just couldn't stay away.