Putting into practice the motto “we care,” students from the UTC Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management (PAMN) program graduate and often go on to work at area non-profit organizations, including the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Boy Scouts of America, and the Tennessee Aquarium. During the program’s annual meeting, current students participated in a networking session with alumni, gaining advice and insight about non-profit careers.
“The theme of this program is partnership. If we can develop partnerships, if we care, and if we want to do something for people who need it, we will succeed,” Dr. Irena Khmelko, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management and coordinator of the PAMN program, said.
Some students practice the “we care” motto before graduation. Zac Holford, a student currently enrolled in the PAMN program, co-founded the Main Street Bicycle Cooperative in 2009. The cooperative is a non-profit organization focused on creating and supporting a healthy bicycling community in Chattanooga.
The organization helps area residents build and maintain bicycles. Holford credits what he learned in the PANM program, especially from Dr. Ralph Anderson, UTC Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, for helping him start the cooperative.
“Dr. Anderson’s program planning class helped us most in starting our charity. What we learned in class was directly applicable to what I did in the real world. In class, he went out of his way with his teaching and energy. He made us want to be there,” Holford said.
Holford presented Anderson, an avid cycler, with a plaque made out of bicycle gears to commemorate his former professor’s role in guiding him and supporting his vision.
“I’ve been proud of this program over the past 30 years I’ve been affiliated with it. I’m really proud of our students. The non-profit sector in Chattanooga is stronger because of our graduates,” Anderson said.
Tricia Sebes, Care Coordinator at McKamey Animal Care Center, is one of those graduates working in the local non-profit sector.
“Doing an internship while in college is the reason I am where I am. My internship at the Humane Society helped me get my job at McKamey. Now, I tell students to find places to volunteer and intern to get out there and get to know people. You never know where you might end up because of it,” she said.
Diana Rausin, another PAMN graduate and current District Executive at the local office of the Boy Scouts of America, also encouraged students to take advantage of what the PAMN program has to offer.
“The program helped me prepare for my job where I do everything I learned in school, from grant writing to program planning to volunteer relations. Pay attention in school because you never know when you might need it,” she said.