Student Profile: Andrea Meyers, MPA '19

December 8, 2017

Andrea Meyers, MPA ‘19, pictured right, is an ImpactED Fellow and recipient of a guaranteed admissions partnership scholarship by virtue of her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Peru. In this interview, Andrea discusses her time in the Peace Corps, her ongoing experience at Fels and ImpactED, and her hopes for the future.

What professional/academic work were you engaged in before you came to Fels?

Before Fels, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru working in public health program management. Originally, I worked with mothers of children under the age of three to help decrease chronic malnutrition, anemia, and developmental stunting. Later, I did a lot of work with teens and sexual reproductive health, and then work related to water and sanitation. Before the Peace Corps, I worked at the Bank of New York Mellon for 3 years in anti-money laundering regulatory control. 

Did you enjoy your time serving in the Peace Corps?

I did enjoy it, but the work was also very difficult. The whole point of the Peace Corps is not just to work yourself, but rather to transfer skills so that other people can do that work. However, I found that it was often really hard to find people who were motivated enough to actually participate in the skill transfer, especially at first as someone who didn’t speak the local language or fully understand the local culture. So, the work was always really difficult, but the results were rewarding. Also, one other thing that I really loved was being able to interact with all of the other volunteers and spend time with people from all walks of life.

Why did you decide to pursue an MPA at Fels?

Well, I knew that I wanted to get a graduate degree after the Peace Corps, but I wasn’t sure at first what that degree should be. I was originally interested in possibly pursuing an MPH because of the work I did in the Peace Corps, but I ruled it out pretty quickly when I realized that the field work really wasn’t for me. Later, I began thinking about pursuing an MBA, but I then realized that it made more sense to me to pursue an MPA, as I wanted to focus on more public sector, social impact work. Fels’ MPA curriculum made perfect sense for me, and the affordability of the program--especially given my guaranteed scholarship as a returning Peace Corps volunteer--made my choice of school pretty clear.

What has been your favorite aspect of the Fels experience so far?

I like the small size of my cohort and being able to so easily get to know everyone. I also like how everyone is here in order to learn how to better serve the common good by going out into the world and helping others. Academically, I really like statistics so far, which is something I didn’t expect! My new understanding of data analysis and R (a programming language for statistical computing) will definitely help me if I get into analytical work in the future. 

You are currently an ImpactED Fellow. Could you describe that role for me?

ImpactED is an evaluation and development organization at Fels that offers a number of fellowships to Fels students interested in getting involved with their work. Right now I am assigned to two of their projects: one with the Free Library of Philadelphia and the other with the Philadelphia Water Department. Currently, we are conducting surveys, collecting data, and doing a lot of background research to determine the impact these public organizations have on the city.

Do you know what you might want to do professionally after Fels?

The reason why I wanted to get an MPA was to mix my experiences in the private sector and Peace Corps and do some sort of government accountability or anti-corruption work. Now though, I’m not so sure; the work that I’ve been doing with ImpactED has led me to start thinking more about public sector consulting!

Social Media


Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829