Dania Frink, Master of Public Administration '13
Innovate the Public Sector from Here
"USF really taught me the value of having your thoughts and opinions and beliefs challenged in a respectful manner, in a community of shared understanding and respect."
Dania Frink, MPA ‘13, recognized a need for change in local government and grabbed the opportunity to be an innovator.
When Dania Frink was looking to advance her career in the public sector and be an agent of change in her community, she found herself drawn to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of San Francisco (USF).
"I was drawn to the MPA program because I saw real hands-on tools and opportunities for relationship building to get the skills to fill leadership roles,” Frink said. “The program helped shape my personal leadership skills and allowed me to connect to a larger movement.”
While attending USF, Frink was named the Community Service Commissioner in the City of Hayward, a role that she hoped to effect change. She recognized a need for her perspective and the perspective of her generation to be represented in local government, where they could shape and influence change. Her professional position allowed her to simultaneously identify areas of improvement and educate herself to help achieve these goals.
“Being at USF made me realize the power of your role as a citizen,” she said. “If you identify areas of concern, what better way to help make those changes than to get in and serve alongside your government leaders? They welcome that. I think being in that role in conjunction with my program really catapulted my interest in growth in this area.”
Because of her professional and personal experience and her education at USF, Frink earned a yearlong fellowship through Education Pioneers from the Schusterman Foundation. This allowed her to see another side of the public sector, including making grants and developing leaders in the education field.
This fellowship has been a phenomenal learning experience,” she said. “I was able to utilize the tools and skills I learned in the MPA program directly.
The fellowship gave Frink the opportunity to use her expertise in nonprofit administration in a way she hadn’t had the chance to previously: writing and designing a formal grant making process for the foundation. “My focus has been on how we can attract and attain great teachers,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity to see a new side of nonprofits, and to turn on my analytical brain to learn about the fiscal part of education.”
Frink credits her success to being a life-long learner and to her willingness to be open to different perspectives.
“You have to be recognize that you don’t know it all, because there’s just a host of information and innovation out there,” she said. “USF really taught me the value of having your thoughts and opinions and beliefs challenged in a respectful manner, in a community of shared understanding and respect. We also learned hands-on practical skills for organizational management. It helped me improve my own management skills, and that’s an area in which I was really seeking to grow.”