Zach Graber (MPA’09)
Zach Graber is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, but prior to coming to SPEA, his job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took him all over the country. He lived in Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; Los Angeles; Orlando; and Iowa as an emergency relief worker.
Zach graduated from James Madison University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Public Relations. He joined a small software company, working in their marketing department, but did not feel as if it was the right fit for him. That led him to apply for the FEMA position in 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina had hit. He was hired in less than a week, and was soon in Alabama.
After almost two years of a job filled with traveling and changing roles, Zach began looking for a graduate school. “I had reached a plateau at my position, and I knew I needed to develop the harder quantitative skills of math and finance to complement my PR degree,” he said. This led Zach to SPEA and to the public finance and international affairs concentrations.
“SPEA is the perfect blend between public policy and public administration,” he said. “The school gives you the opportunity to learn not only how to make good policy, but to implement the policy you make.”
Zach is very involved as a student. He currently is co–chair of the annual Spring SPEA auction, an event providing funding for first–year master’s students’ internships. In addition, he works for the Bloomington Housing Authority through Service Corps and he serves as the second–year MPA representative for the Graduate Student Association. Zach was also invited to speak with the Board of Visitors in regards to the new dean’s agenda.
This past summer, Zach worked with the Office of Management and Budget with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He hopes to pursue a career in government and international financial policy.