Expected MPA 2018
Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens is a part-time MPA student. An untraditional pathway led her to the DPP at UConn. As a non-traditional aged student, Fionnuala completed her B.A. in Educational Studies from Trinity College. At Trinity she completed a thesis that examined the intersection of residential zoning ordinances, housing, and schooling opportunities. She executed this research in partnership with the Connecticut Fair Housing Authority, and her research is cited in the Federal Housing and Urban Developments 2013 report on the Impediments to Fair Housing. She also provided testimony to the Connecticut General Assembly, and appeared on NPR as a subject matter expert on Connecticut’s residential zoning policy. Her thesis, and partnership with area nonprofits taught her how closely policy is affected by budgets, and how influential policy is on Connecticut’s citizens. She knew she needed to learn policy to learn how to affect change.
Fionnuala was initially enrolled in another MPA program, which turned out to be a poor fit for her. She then decided to meet the dedicated faculty and staff at UConn DPP, and knew instantly that the program would be a good fit. She was especially impressed during her first visit to DPP when two current students stopped their work to speak with her about the MPA program.
Fionnuala’s concentration is social policy with a focus on education. Currently Fionnuala runs a program at a local community college that serves academically underprepared students. Fionnuala’s long-term career goals are to continue to serve high-needs students. She selected the MPA program at UConn to help her learn public finance, program evaluation, and every nuance of the policy process. Fionnuala uses the skills learned in her course work everyday in the work of running her program.
In May of 2016, Fionnuala gave the commencement address at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, CT. She shared with graduates that higher education changed her life, and that it is where she fell in love with learning. She cautioned graduates to trust the process and respect the journey of our degree programs. At DPP Fionnuala embraces her great love for learning, and loves the journey.