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Felicia Fette

MPPA alum Felicia Fette wondered when she would ever use the skills she learned in Andrew Glassberg’s Governmental Budgeting class. “I remember thinking this is a bunch of gibberish,” Fette said. “Little did I know how much I was going to use this. You’ve really gotta know budgeting to be successful in government.”

So far Fette’s governmental career is off to a good start. She was chosen as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2011. The prestigious and highly competitive program accepts just 5 percent of the thousands of applicants.

Fette spent most of her first year in the two-year program working as a Budget Analyst for the Department of Transportation. She helped develop parts of the department’s fiscal year 2014 budget submission to Congress and helped review and edit the department’s strategic plan. She spent the next six months working as a strategic communications specialist with the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. She is now back at the DOT in the Office of Budget and Programs, where she reviews and analyzes various documents submitted for approval and helps the department’s chief financial officer keep track of her hectic schedule.

Fette’s career path has taken many turns, including stints at the Cheesecake Factory, as a substitute teacher and a flight attendant. A graduate of the University of Missouri’s prestigious School of Journalism, Fette had always been interested in public policy. “In journalism you’re writing about the issues,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to make an impact on issues.” That realization led her to the MPPA program. She was drawn to UMSL’s affordability and the MPPA’s evening classes that allowed her to keep working. She developed a strong relationship with faculty members, who were critical in helping her earn the Fellowship, she said.

In addition to Dr. Glassberg’s budgeting class, Fette is often reminded of PPA Director Deborah Balser’s Organizational Behavior class. “I think about that every time I read the news,” Fette said. “This could be a case study for that class.”

Fette’s internship is over in April, at which time she will convert to a regular government employee in the Department of Transportation. So, for the foreseeable future, she will be in Washington, D.C.

“It’s definitely the place to be if you want to be in a policy-related field,” Fette said. “But I miss St. Louis.” 

- Lauren Smith