Catherine “Kathy” Naczas, '92G
Current position: Executive Director, Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority
Previous position: Senior Community Investment Manager, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston
Carsey Degree: Master of Public Administration
"Get the degree done ASAP so you can start making a difference!"
Can you share a few sentences that describe your capstone and/or internship experience at UNH?
In the early 90s, "aging in place" was a concept we were working hard on in New Hampshire. This was an initiative that would allow seniors to receive the supportive services they needed at home rather than being prematurely institutionalized in nursing homes.
I was fortunate enough to be able to work with a colleague at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services on my capstone to conduct a state-wide survey that would lead to the development of policies, programs, and funding needed to accomplish this initiative. Many wonderful programs were advanced at that time, and I believe our survey data and analysis helped in achieving success for New Hampshire's seniors.
How did the MPA better position you to succeed in your career and career goals?
After building a good foundation of experience – some 6 years in assisted/subsidized housing – I knew that getting my MPA was the next step in furthering my career. The MPA program put me in contention for the executive director position with the Laconia Housing Authority. I got that position, in part, because I was almost finished with my master’s degree.
Good, relative experience and education build the foundation you need to then go forth and really make a difference in your community!
Can you describe your most valuable takeaway from the MPA program:
Theories are taught in the classroom but not in real-world public agencies. Those theories need to be challenged in the classroom, and I was very fortunate to have professors who did just that. But most importantly, the MPA program taught me to think, to be ethical first, and to understand what being a steward of the public trust means.
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