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Foreign Policy Analysis
UB Smart Talks: Brandee Izquierdo is finding her path in the College of Public Affairs

UB Smart Talks: Brandee Izquierdo is finding her path in the College of Public Affairs


Making change in the public sector
begins with an internal purpose. I work for the behavior health administration
and I see things that need to change from a policy level, and I want to be a
part of that system change. I’d explored a lot of different options
for what I wanted to do with my academic career. I thought about social work but I
really wanted to do something on a higher level that I could affect a lot
more people. So I chose to go to the University of Baltimore to do that. And I
think UB has really taught me how to understand the system. What really changed my life was: I was a person in the public behavior
health system, recovering from mental health and addiction. And there was a
point in my life that was extremely dark and there was a lot of despair in my
life. And I knew I had an opportunity to make change and I had to make that
change from within. I found that helping others and being
of service to others was my internal purpose. I decided to follow that path
and I thought the best way to do that was to excel in my education. I was accepted into the accelerated
program at the University of Baltimore, and I am currently accepted into the
graduate program for the Masters of Public Administration. There
are a lot of everyday challenges when you decide to go back to school. I have
four children — it’s an extreme balance, deciding how you’re going to utilize
your time and and fulfill all your family obligations. The one thing that
I’ve realized in doing this: that I have paved the way and allowed myself to be an
example for my children and saying that anything is possible. And it’s actually a
family affair when it comes to school work. We do our school work together, we
do our homework together, we do projects together. I read them my papers, they
read me their papers. You can incorporate family and all types of ways and school
is just another magical part of it. It’s so much fun — I come home from work, I
switch gears, I calm down, I become a student. I’m involved, I watch the
campus, I watch the people on the campus. I enjoy my friends, I have a whole
network of friends. I enjoy the classroom experience — the professors. There’s
something just magical about it. It reenergizes me after a long day at
work. At that point, I shift from a leaders’ perspective to a student
perspective and I enjoy that experience. I enjoy learning and taking that
learning experience back to my profession. When I started at UB, my only plan at
the time was to gain my bachelor’s degree. But UB is just — something
amazing, there’s something amazing about this community that I enjoy
so much. My goal is hopefully to do a dual program in law and the master’s. And I
don’t want to stop there — I’d love to get my Ph.D., I’d love to teach at the
University. This has become a community for life for
me.

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