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Graduate Program Success Stories

coatesStephanie Coates (MSW/MPP ‘20) has accepted a position at the Environmental Defense Fund as a Tom Graff Community Air Quality Fellow. She will be working with the EDF’s Data to Action Initiative supporting grass-roots organizations with environmental concerns and working with EDF-partner organizations.

Stephanie spent eight years with the University of Houston helping to build the UH Energy Fellows program and as program director for the Subsea Systems Institute.


charity-dominguezCharity Dominguez (MPP ’17) was among the inaugural class to graduate from the Hobby School’s MPP program. Until recently, she was the regional training and exercise coordinator at the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management.

Charity recently accepted a position to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the emergency management division where she will perform preparedness planning and provide training and conduct exercises.

“I cannot thank the Hobby School enough for preparing me for this amazing opportunity. I am so proud to be an alumnus from the Hobby School of Public Affairs!”


es-headshotEric Schroeder (BS ’14; MPP ‘19) recently accepted a position as an analyst in data analysis and reporting at the Texas Legislative Budget Board. The LBB is a permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations, completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation, and conducts evaluations and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations.

Eric is also a Civic Houston Intern and Hobby Fellows alumnus. Prior to the LBB, Eric recently served as the director of county affairs for Texas Representative Garnet Coleman.


powellPaige Powell (‘BA ’17; MPP ’20) has accepted a new position as deputy director for Citizen’s Environmental Coalition, an alliance of organizations working for the environment and quality of life in the Houston-Galveston area.

Paige is also a former Civic Houston Internship Program and Certified Public Manager alumnus.

"The rich quantitative and philosophical education I received through the Hobby School, coupled with its vast network of connections, has been instrumental in the evolution of my public service career. The program challenged me to expand how I think about and frame discussions around important policy concerns, and provided me with necessary skills to become more effective as a public advocacy professional."


taelor-croppedTaelor Hardesty (MPP ’17) was in the first inaugural class to graduate from the Hobby School’s MPP program.  During his graduate studies, he studied and was hired by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Taelor recently started a new position with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and will be investigating and bringing law enforcement actions to stop unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices.

“I owe it all to my mentors and the MPP program.”


santamariaEdith Santamaria (BA ’15; MPP ’21) has accepted a new position with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to her new role, Edith worked in the Office of County Judge Lina Hidalgo, but is excited about her new challenge.

Edith is also a former Civic Houston Intern alumnus in the offices of Houston Council Member Robert Gallegos and then-Council Member and current Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzalez.

The MPP program at the Hobby School equipped me with the quantitative skills that are critical to advancing evidenced-based public policy. Completing this program has positioned me for a meaningful and rewarding career in the public sector and prepared me for my current position with the U.S. Department of Commerce.”


jon-garciaJon Garcia (BS ’17; MPP ’21) was recently promoted to Strategic Initiative and Program Analyst at Harris County.

Besides earning his MPP, Jon was also a Civic Houston intern, Hobby Fellow, and Leland Fellow.

"There is a direct line between the programs I participated in at the Hobby School and what I've been able to accomplish in my career. Whether it's being able to land jobs or promotions, having the knowledge to be successful at those next career steps, or having been able to form a strong group of mentors to help guide me, the Hobby School's programming was no doubt foundational to where I am today."


lauren-duhonLauren Duhon (MPP ’21) recently accepted a new position with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Lauren is starting work as an economic development specialist working with a team to oversee projects and the distribution of grants through federal funding.

“I think a big part of why I got the job was my policy background and the research skills I further developed during my MPP studies.”