Stability is something that we all need.  MCNY MPA alumna, Syrena Huggins knows!  Syrena is the Executive Director of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program at HELP USA where she is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the program, works closely with the Veterans Administration to ensure full programmatic and statistical compliance, oversees staff recruitment and training, provides administrative and case management supervision and evaluates the programs overall performance.

A single mom who lives in Brooklyn, Syrena Huggins focused the Constructive Action she developed while in the MPA in Public Affairs and Administration program on improving internal auditing at her former employer, CAMBA HomeBase. This earned her a promotion at the nonprofit agency, where she once helped fight homelessness in Brooklyn and on Staten Island.

Syrena attended MCNY because she felt it was different and offered more than most colleges. “Purpose-Centered Education provides a level of hands-on experience you just don’t get elsewhere. The MPA program curriculum was truly impressive. I graduated more equipped and with more confidence than I had before. I came out knowing that I could write a great grant proposal—because I had,” says Syrena, My Constructive Action (CA) focused on improving the internal auditing procedures at a nonprofit homelessness prevention initiative. Changes to funding mandates had affected the quality of work performed by the staff. If you don’t comply with the mandates, you risk losing funding. I researched the issues and came up with a pilot program that created a more intelligent approach to satisfying funder mandates without sacrificing quality.

How did your CA impact your career?  The pilot program was successful and has been since it was rolled out throughout CAMBA. It also got me noticed by our vice president and played a role in my being promoted to the program manager for quality assurance. I now oversee quality for all of the agency’s HomeBase programs.

I understand you also presented your CA at a national conference. Tell me about that.  After completing my program in December 2013, Dean Crookendale recommended that I present at the 2014 American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) conference in Washington, D.C. I had the opportunity to present my CA to professionals and other academics in the field. The Walton Constructive Action Grant helped make this experience possible because it reimbursed my expenses for the conference.


Designed specifically for working professionals with some related experience in a public agency, not-for-profit or profit-making setting, the MPA in Public Affairs and Administration provides the student with the skills necessary to enhance the organization’s efficiency through applied learning, concentrating on building leadership careers in public service.  More Program Info