New Gallegly Center opens new opportunities

CLU has unveiled the new Elton and Janice Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement, an extension of CLU’s 4+1 fast-track Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) consisting of a summer term and three additional terms. The new program will provide experiential learning opportunities to nurture students for a future in public service.

Seniors Nina Kuzniak and Zachary Zabo are the first two fellows of the center and will have the opportunity to one internship and field research based on their interests and career goals, in addition to completing the core curriculum of the MPPA program.

“We put together some courses that will be useful for them in their future in public affairs, so they’ll have courses in communication and leadership, decision making,” said MPPA Director David Powell. “Every Gallegly fellow will be completing a thesis in the area of their interest or expertise, which will give them the ability to work with a faculty member, either me or Dr. Hoang or Dr. Gooch, in order to explore an issue of relevance to public affairs.”

The first two fellows were selected by Haco Hoang, associate professor of political science, for both their academic qualifications and their passionate commitment to public service.

“I knew that they could handle the challenges as well as have the ability and the potential to do it,” said Hoang, who has taught and advised both students during their undergraduate studies. “It is really important that they understand the civic obligations that come with it, and passion is really important.”

Zabo said that the honor came as a complete surprise to him and Kuzniak. A political science and criminal justice major, Zabo’s desire to work in public service evolved from his political science capstone last year.

“I have interest in pursuing politics, so I think this is going to be a great step to help me in that pursuit,” said Zabo.

Zabo is involved in student government, was a resident assistant for two years, a presidential host and the vice president of the criminal justice student association, before taking on a full-time job this year.

“I challenged myself with a double major, but I didn’t just stick with purely going to school. I always had a lot of different leadership things I was involved in,” said Zabo.

By selecting students rather than taking applicants, Hoang is able to ensure the right type of students get involved in the program. That type of student is someone who has the potential and capability to engage in a life of public service, not just someone who wants to do it, said both Hoang and Powell.

“It wasn’t meant to be exclusive. It was more so that it was organic to what students want to do,” said Hoang.

Elton Gallegly recently retired after his 13th term in Congress. He is a Simi Valley resident who served on the Simi Valley City Council in 1979. He has participated in preparing the curriculum, will loan legislative and personal documents for research and will help CLU in its $3 million fundraising campaign for the center.

“[The center] fits really nicely with our new strategic plan, which is helping students discover and live their purpose,” said  Hoang.

 

Ashley Adelman
Staff Writer
Published March 20, 2013