Megan Garrett

Assistant Director for Development and Stewardship

UNC School of Education

How did you end up working at the University of North Carolina? Did you grow up in the area?
I like to think of myself as the quintessential Tar Heel born and bred. I grew up in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, where my family moved while my mother was in graduate school at UNC. Becoming a Tar Heel was inevitable, and earning my BA from UNC sealed the deal. After graduation, I was excited to take on yet another role in the Carolina family as staff of the UNC library. (Talk about institutional knowledge!)

How did you decide you wanted an MPA?
I wanted to continue my education with a degree that would give me skills to enhance my career but allow me to focus on something I truly cared about. I came across a description for an MPA and knew it was perfect. I’ve always been interested in government, nonprofit work, and public service.

Name one thing you’ve learned in class that you’ve used in your job. 
This is a tough question, because I feel like I could answer this differently every week. Everything we learn can be directly applied to career experience in some way. Learning theory on organizational structure, culture, and collaborative contracting has been the most applicable for me. I’m able to take what we learn in class and apply it to my relationships with colleagues and collaborators and strategize the next move for our organization.

What is something you love about the city you live in?
Durham is wonderful. There are so many people working together to make it a fun center of arts, ideas, and culture. It’s great to see a community come together to make the town a better place to live and visit.

What are your classmates like?
In one word—diverse. Even classmates in similar jobs or industries have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories to tell, which brings a multitude of viewpoints to the table.

Have you met with any of your classmates in person?
Yes! I met a few of the MPA@UNC students at the NC City and County Management Association conference in February 2014, one of whom I was in class with at the time. It’s interesting to meet your classmates in person because you already know them so well.

What has surprised you about your MPA@UNC experience?
I was expecting the live class sessions to feel like a traditional classroom lecture, but they’re so much more collaborative. The asynchronous material allows us to view the lectures on our time and use the live sessions as a shared learning experience. My classmates’ stories and backgrounds make the time pass very quickly. When I describe the format to my friends, I tend to call the live sessions a “collaborative meeting” rather than class.